Sports is not just for professionals, it starts at a young age, with a dream. Due to technology development and other changes taking place in the modern societies, we observe a rising problem of lack of proper movement and resulting obesity problem within younger parts of the society. To put it bluntly, children prefer to play FIFA on their console and 50 inch screen that to go outside and play with their peers. One of Polish NGOs, working closely with VERDE cluster, has decided that they want to tackle this current situation. Their solution? Organizing an event, that is just too good to miss out. The hidden benefit? Participation means movement.
Swim For a Dream
Adam Jerzykowski, the founder of a Swim For a Dream charity, knows too well about the problem with lack of movement with kids. “Well, basically, I was one of those kids, but I did it even before it was cool”, the now 33 year old Jerzykowski chuckles, referring to his past when he was also one of the kids that preferred to stay indoors. Soon, this affected his body and his well-being. When he was an adult, he wanted to change this pattern. A few circumstances occurred within his personal life that basically created a perfect timing for the bold decision: “I am taking care of my body in order to achieve a big goal that can inspire others.”
It took Jerzykowski two years, to go from a chubby non-swimmer to ripped open water swimmer that swam 20 km in the Baltic Sea. This was the beginning of a Swim For a Dream charity. After that came even bigger challenges, like escaping from Alcatraz prison or swimming 40 km in Polish lakes. Those challenges were combined with projects aimed for kids, which focused on directing them into a more healthy way in terms of diet, movement and so on. However, this was still not enough. The NGO’s ambition was to “touch” as many lives as possible. So Jerzykowski decided that creating an event that inspires others to dream (and preferably dream big) is exactly what his charity should do.
Months after founding the NGO Jerzykowski organized a huge charity event. The main attraction was an attempt to break a Guinness World Record in a 24 hour swimming relay on one, 25 meter, swimming lane. The World Guinness Organization required 1440 people to participate in order to set a new record. Exactly 1836 registered for Dreamers Day.
Besides the record-breaking attempt there were around 20 free, additional activities available to everyone who decided to visit, such as a basketball tournament, roller-skating, activities for stimulating people with a disability and much more. The scale of the whole thing is really admirable, especially when taken into account, that this was a first attempt of Swim For a Dream charity to organize such a big event. All in all, around 5 000 people participated in the event, including most of the Polish Swimming National Team that also taught the youngest children how to swim.
The first Dreamers Day took place on September 8th, 2018. One year later, on September 7th, there was a second edition. This time, VERDE was a proud participant, who actively helped to make it as great as possible. Due to VERDE’s collaboration with Swim For a Dream charity, a special conference was organized that focused on issues related to sports in region. What is worth highlighting is that, this conference has gathered many different people representing different faces of sports in our region. Thanks to that event, we were able to freely share our thoughts and ideas as well as create a stronger bond that will surely help us in the future.
According to our knowledge, Jerzykowski is planning to create the third edition of Dreamers Day in 2020. However, due to COVID-19 pandemic there will be changes in the concept of the event, there is a strong belief that it is worth continuing what has been started. Nevertheless, VERDE strongly believes in the concept of Dreamers Day and wish to continuously support this project by, among others, helping to conduct a conference that aims at strengthening the sports industry and infrastructure in the region as a whole.