Football, basketball, tennis, wood- and metalwork, ceramics, cooking… This autumn, secondary school pupils in Espoo can once again choose something they want to do from the extensive range of hobby activities coordinated by the city. Alongside more familiar hobbies, the selection includes more unusual sports as well. In the groups, young people can, for example, practise diving, learn self-defence skills or familiarise themselves with the worlds of cricket, rugby or fencing.
The hobby activities for Wednesday afternoons can be found at www.harrastushaku.fi with the search term “yläkoululaisille”. The activities begin on 4 September 2019, and they can be joined by just showing up. Long-term commitment is not required; one can even try out different hobby options each week. All hobbies are offered free of charge.
To ensure that the young people get to their hobby groups in time, school days in all secondary schools in Espoo end on Wednesdays at 14:30 at the latest. The operating model was introduced at the beginning of the autumn term last year. The hobby activities are organised in close cooperation with different actors, such as sport clubs. This is a two-year pilot, during which the numbers of participants are monitored, feedback is collected from the young people, activity organisers and schools, and the activity is developed accordingly.
The objective is to make it as easy as possible to engage in hobbies and also to offer interesting activities to those young people who have not yet found their own hobby. According to research, the risk of social exclusion is very high in the secondary school phase. Hobbies can help young people find their own strengths. They improve young people’s self-esteem, bring new friends and support learning.
Last year, free hobby activities for secondary school pupils were attended by around 880 young people each week.