Developing Religious Tolerance Through Youth Sports
In many cases, sports are more than just sports. In Northern Ireland, youth sports are being used as a vehicle for bridging religious differences between Catholics and Protestants.
Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and many Protestants identify this way while Catholics identify more predominantly with Ireland. Many are hoping that a younger generation unfamiliar with previous and existing struggles will become more tolerant.
A group called Peace Players has stepped in to help with new youth sports programs. They form teams of integrated players through twinning – the combination of seven-year-olds for eight weeks at a time for four years. The program requires parental permission but has seen high acceptance rates.
Although there’s still progress to be made, these programs geared towards youngsters are a step in the right direction.