Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong


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YMCA 2017 November Perspective


Cover Story photo

Cover Story
Elderly athletes bring their football dreams to life
Football, “the beautiful game”, is a demanding and high-energy sport which involves a lot of running and requires a high level of physical fitness. Players need a lot of strength and flexibility, and bumps, scrapes and falls are inevitable during the course of every game. Many players are forced to stop playing football when they get older due to the demands of the sport and their more fragile physical condition.

But Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong has good news for elderly football lovers! To promote sport for all, in 2015 we introduced the sport of walking football to our senior members. Originally conceived in the United Kingdom, players are not allowed to run or make contact with players on the other team. This gentler, slower game is helping keep the beautiful game accessible to elderly, rehabilitation patients and people with chronic illnesses.

 84 year-old Uncle AuSince introducing the sport to Hong Kong, YMCA has held several trial games and training sessions with a total of more than 1,000 participants. On 1 November this year, we held Hong Kong’s first-ever Walking Football Cup. Thirteen teams made up of individuals and representatives from various social welfare organizations took part, including an 84 year-old man, a lady in her 60s with no previous football experience and former Group A player.

In spite of his age, 84 year-old Au Tung Yim made some stunning plays and passes on the pitch, delighting everyone on the sidelines. “I loved all kinds of sports when I was young, including basketball and football; but as I got older my energy level declined. Sometimes when I went for a walk, I even deliberately avoided walking by a pitch to avoid being hit by a football”, said Mr Au.

That situation changed six months ago, when Mr Au began his walking football training. Along with ball control, his coach also trains participants to walk along a balance beam to improve their overall coordination. Mr Au reports that since his training began, his sense of balance, coordination and general level of physical fitness have all improved. Most importantly, his self-confidence has been greatly enhanced and he has made many good friends. The average age of players on Mr Au’s team at the tournament was 68 – and they won the Walking Football Championship trophy in the mixed group category.

Walking football has very specific rules that forbid running and allow either minimal physical contact between players or no contact at all. This gentle approach has drawn people who have never played football in their lives to the sport. One of them is Miss Chek, aged 66 – she immediately fell in love with walking football after a trial training session; saying, “I was afraid of falling down in the first session, but after practicing for weeks, I gradually learned a few skills and now I find football fascinating. Football has become a new topic of discussion for myself and my husband and son. They are surprised that I joined the football match!”

A number of celebrities attended YMCA’s inaugural Walking Football Cup, including former football players Chung Cho Wai, Cheung Chi Wai, Yam Wai Hung; and artists Cheng Tan Shui, Cheung Kin Ting and Chung Chi Kwong. Cheng Tan Shui and Cheung Kin Ting formed a team with players they met during the morning workout, naming themselves “DIY”.

“This was like a dream to me: I had the chance to play against my idol, and I managed to keep Yam Wai Hung’s shots out of the goal”, said Cheng Tan Shui. Although his team came second in the final game, he though the competition process was very valuable – more than the final result, saying that “bringing our dreams to the football pitch and playing with a group of friends is priceless.”

Cheung Kin Ting pointed out that, “although walking football does not allow running or direct contact, it is still a great game and perfectly suitable for elderly. I feel more at ease playing football under these rules, and I don’t have to worry about the impact on everyone’s health!”

To increase the popularity of walking football, we have invited FIFA World Cup-certified referee Ng Yim Kin and senior football coach Lau Yi Fan to be our programme advisors. They will be helping us develop a set of rules in Chinese.

football. Our next step is to encourage the formation of a Hong Kong team that will participate in the first World Walking Football Cup, which will be held in England in 2020. Anyone interested in participating or learning more about walking football can click here for details .


Global YMCA Updates
Global citizens of the Netherlands
Global YMCA Updates This November, YMCA was pleased to receive the first group of international interns from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences in Zwolle, the Netherlands. Manon, Melis, Rozemarijn and Delroy are third year undergraduate students studying Global Project and Change Management.

Thanks to a new partnership between Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong and the Netherlands YMCA, these interns will be spending two months in Hong Kong working on a meaningful research project. Their focus will be on discovering the needs of ethnic minority youths living in Hong Kong and how our “Be a Global Citizen” campaign can address these needs and help them grow and develop into global citizens of Hong Kong.

The four interns will visit different service units and take part in several programmes organized for ethnic minorities. They will also conduct interviews with academics, social workers and of course Hong Kong-born ethnic minority youths to gain a better understanding of the current situation.

We sincerely hope that our colleagues, members and volunteers will give the interns full support in order to get this important research project up and to ensure that the first collaboration between the two YMCAs and Windesheim University is a resounding success.


Activities Highlights
Creativity·Infinity @ CWB
Creativity·Infinity @ CWB Each year, We collaborate with the government’s Intellectual Property Department. Together, we organize various creative activities to remind the public to respect and embrace the spirit of originality. This year, we held an activity called “Creativity‧Infinity” in the Causeway Bay pedestrian zone, turning the area into a mega-stage for local designers. Several fashion shows were held, demonstrating the vibrant work of local designers and attracting a lot of public attention. Virtual and augmented reality games were also featured, allowing people to experience the unlimited creativity of Hong Kong’s young people. The organisers hoped to inspire the creativity and imagination of everyone in Hong Kong and encourage them to integrate creativity into their lives at every level.


Timberland hosts its annual Cycling Day
Cycling Day Autumn is the best season for outdoor activities like hiking and barbecues. This autumn, the residents of our Home of Love Yung Shing Hostel got to enjoy some outdoor fun. Thanks to Timberland, our Y-Care CSR Silver partner, they deployed a volunteer force of 80 people to go cycling with a group of intellectually disabled people. After the bike ride, the participants learned safe barbecuing methods and had a great time cooking outdoors with the volunteers in Hong Kong’s beautiful countryside.


Travelling through time with the elderly
Travelling through time To help elderly people enjoy the glorious memories of their youth while experiencing technology at the same time, Roche Hong Kong, another of our Y-Care CSR partners, sent a team of volunteers to play virtual reality fruit cutting game and hold multi-sensory lion dance with a group of elderly people. This event was a big win in many ways: aside from helping the elderly learn about new technology, it also improved their physical coordination and balance. In addition to these innovative games, the elderly also travelled back in time to take part in traditional craft workshop, making shadow puppets, festive dragon heads, mini-bus signboards, Chinese paper crafts and more. The event brought them back to their glory days, helping them share their stories and memories with the younger generations. If your company is interested in similar Y-Care CSR volunteer opportunities, please click here for more information:


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