Encouraging young people to engage in sport will be the focus of a mixed volleyball tournament this weekend.

The Bendigo Community Health Services Karen Youth Sports Inclusion Project has drawn on the insights of a group of young Karen people who formed an advisory group, to explore ways to bring people together.

It was decided a volleyball competition would bring community together through friendly competition, and encourage young people to participate more in local sporting clubs and competitions.

Karen Youth Sports Inclusion Project worker, Nido, says there are many positives to participating in team sports.

“Sport, like music and food, speaks every language - and like thousands of migrants before them, the Karen love sport too,” he said.

“If you played sport as a young person, you would know how positive it can be. The friends you make, the values you learn and the camaraderie of being in a team.

“These are features that make participating in sports a protective factor for so many.”

Nido says this is one of the critical aims of the project.

“The project is connecting people to sporting clubs through recreation, competition, umpiring or volunteering,” he said.

“Being physical, being there for teammates, and having fun; that is the name of our game.”

The project also provides cultural awareness opportunities to local sporting clubs, to increase their knowledge and understanding about our region’s growing Karen population.

The tournament will be held at Eaglehawk Secondary College, Saturday, April 9: 8.30am – 5pm