VOA Champion Tessa To Serve As Change-Maker
FASANOC Voices of the Athletes Champion Tessa Harman was announced by the International Olympic Committee as one of 82 young people who will serve as Young Change-Makers for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in Argentina in October, 2018.
She is one of four from the Oceania Region chosen along with athletes from Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand and will be participating in a unique programme of activities and workshops, featuring sessions on injury prevention, anti-doping, careers in sport and media training which will encourage them to interact with people from different sports and backgrounds.
Tessa who is also an active athlete that is still representing Fiji in the sport of Hockey is part of a list that includes 16 Olympians (four of whom also competed at the YOG) and 12 YOG alumni, sports coaches, students and young professionals, all under 30.
The Young Change Maker was nominated by FASANOC and will have one mission in common which is to support the young YOG athletes and to inspire other young people in their communities using their experience.
"Being nominated as a Young Change Maker is a huge honour and it will allow me to engage young athletes on programmes that FASANOC's Voices of the Athletes (VOA) Programme does but on an international level," said Tessa.
"As a VOA Champions we have engaged with athletes that are older but this opportunity will allow me to build on that experiences and hone my leadership skills as well."
Tessa said her role as a young change maker is basically a junior Chef De Mission.
"What we do is inspire and support young athletes and also to ensure they get the most out of the games so when they return to their country and their communities they can share what they learned.
"It is also about building and engaging their self esteem because some of the workshops include Anti-Doping, Leadership Building and Bullying," she said.
"We also hope to use this opportunity to try and use sports to break down barriers like bullying and sexism which is why it helps that there is a gender balance at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games."
Tessa said she hoped to fulfill her role as a Young Change Maker and ensure that all athletes not only take back with them great memories but lessons they will learn from fellow athletes.
"Sports is not only about winning but enjoying the experience of a competitive environment as well as learning on how to become better citizens in a global world," she said.
Tessa said she was also hopeful of building new connections with fellow Young Change Makers and to transfer whatever she learns to the VOA Programme.
The Young Change Makers programme is now in its fifth cycle following its success at the previous two Summer and two Winter Youth Olympic Games. The programme demonstrates just one of the unique elements of the Youth Olympic Games, along with the Young Reporter and Athlete Role Model initiatives.
The lessons learned will equip the athletes with the sports skills to perform to the best of their ability on the field of play, and the life skills to be true ambassadors of their sport off the field of play, inspiring young people in their communities to get active and embrace the Olympic values.
The Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 will be held from 6 to 18 October in Argentina.