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2. Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs

(1) Characteristics of Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs

The comprehensive community sports club is a fornn of club found mainly in European countries where sports enthusiasts from children through to senior citizens and the disabled can take part.Comprehensive community sports clubs have the following characteristics:

(i)They are not limited to a single sports type,but offer many sports types.
(ii)They are for people of all ages and various skill levels,from the young to senior citizens and from beginners to top athletes.
(iii)They have sports facilities and clubbouses as a base for their activities,which they are able to conduct regularly and on schedule.
(iv)They have high quality sports instructors who offer advice suited to the sports needs of the individual.

In European countries,sports bave a firm root in people's lives and many residents belong to tbe comprehensive community sports clubs in their areas.Comprehensive community sports clubs are essential to the local residents.

(2) Significance of Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs

At comprehensive community sports clubs,the members,facilities,programs and instructors work together systematically for regular and continuous activities.This links the potential sports needs of local residents to actual activity and makes it possible to continue those activities.Comprehensive community sports clubs are bases for lifelong sports and fulfill the following roles:

(1)Sports activities for every stage of life Comprehensive community sports clubs offer a variety of sports activities under the leadership of high-level instructors,enabling each person not only to select the activity suited to their sex,age and stamina,but also to choose sports appropriate to the individual's stage of life.
(2)Formation of regional communities In European countries,comprehensive community sports clubs are the foundation of the regional community-not only places for sports activities,but also places for social interaction among local residents.
(3)Places for the social education of children People of all ages from children to senior citizens take part in activities at cornprehensive community sports clubs,providing opportunities for exchange between people of different age groups(i.e.,children and adults).Raising children in such an environment contributes to their emotional education.
(4)Effective use of public facilities If small clubs occupy facilities for themselves,the facilities are used inefficiently.By developing comprehensive sports clubs however,it would be comparatively easy to coordinate facility use and to make more efficient use of those facilities.The same can be said of in-structors
(5)Community pride Joining a comprehensive community sports club that serves as a foundation of the local community means becoming a mennber of that community and developing a sense of pride in the community.It also helps to stimulate the region.
(6)Creation of a sports environment for children through coordination and cooperation with extracurricular sports clubs

Coordination and cooperation between comprehensive community sports clubs and extracurricular sports clubs through,for example,the provision of instructors from the former to the latter,can help to provide a variety of sports environments for children.

(3) Efforts of Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs in Each Region

MESSC has been operating model projects for the development and establishment of comprehensive community sports clubs since FY1995.One of these is the Narawa Sports Club set up in the Narawa district of Handa City,Aichi Prefecture.The gymnasiums and grounds of local elementary schools,lower secondary schools and municipal gymnasiums,serve as the bases for the model club which uses empty classrooms of a lower secondary school as its clubhouse.There are a wide range of activities,including volleyball,badminton and Shorinjikenpo,and as many as100instructors registered.This sports club has absorbed and combined all the existing youth club teams within the area and coordinates its activities with those of school extracurricular sports clubs.The establishment of this sports club has heightened awareness in sports and other areas of education among local residents and enabled children,especially lower secondary school students,to choose their own lifestyle without restriction to extracurricular sports club activities.Models have also been set up in other regions,where efforts are being made to develop and establish comprehensive community sports clubs.Such clubs are now starting to take root.In addition to these MESSC models,there are also comprehensive community sports clubs that have been developed and established on the initiative of local residents.Koyo Sports Culture Club in the Suginami Ward of Tokyo is one such example.The swimming pool opening committee organized by the P.T.A of the Koyo Lower Secondary School expanded and became a community sports club.This sports club keeps a clubhouse inside the school cornpound and uses the grounds and gymnasiums of elementary and lower secondary schools in the area,as well as the tennis courts of nearby companies and other facilities as bases for its activities.Some sports associations are also making efforts to develop comprehensive community sports clubs.The Japan Professional Football League(J League),for example,is striving to develop comprehensive community sports clubs under its100year vision.Its member clubs are also promoting other kinds of sports,for example,by conducting basketball and volleyball classes.The Japan Amateur Sports Association is also making efforts to develop comprehensive community sports clubs with a focus on youth sports associations.

(4) Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs Overseas

In many European countries,extracurricular sports club activities have not been greatly developed.Instead,sports take place exclusively at community sports clubs.For this reason,there are comprehensive community sports clubs with fitm roots in each region.Some countries even have legal stipulations for their establishment.In Germany,for example,sports clubs can be registered as corporations under the Verein Gericht(Club Law)if they meet certain conditions(e.g.,they are non-profit,have at least seven members).Verein(clubs)registered as corporations are able to obtain certain rights(e.g.,club revenues become tax exempt).Some of these clubs have their own facilities,while others are given preference in the use of public sports facilities in exchange for managing those facilities.Many sports clubs in Germany and other countries are large(averaging approximately300members)and cover most of their expenses through membership fees and revenue-generating operations(e.g.,sales of goods,sales of drinks and food),but also get subsidies from their cities,sports associations and other sources.

(5) Directions for the Development and Establishment of Comprehensive Community Sports Clubs

As comprehensive community sports clubs are set up voluntarily by local residents for their own sports activities,these residents should also fundamentally assume responsibility for the development and management of the clubs.Ideally,expenses for the management of the clubs shoed be covered as much as possible through membership fees and other revenue-generating operations,which would also promote the sustainability of the clubs.However,as in the case of Germany,it is difficult for local residents to set up community sports clubs on their own.This makes some degree of administrative support necessary.Since it is difficult for clubs to build and hold facilities themselves,for example,the establishment of comprehensive community sports clubs requires administrative support in such forms as granting preference in the use of public sports facilitjes and school physical education facilities.There is also a need to consider the possibility of providing some kind of support in terms of the various expenses for managing comprehensive community sports clubs.There is also a need to appropriately coordinate these activities with school extracurricular sports club activities.School extracurricular sports clubs are very important in providing students with the chance to engage in sports.It is necessary that the activities of these clubs and those of community sports clubs are appropriately coordinated so that each serves its respective role,etc.When a region is bustling with sports activity under comprehensive community sports clubs,for example,some of the school extracurricular sports club activities could be entrusted to those community clubs.Comprehensive community sports clubs could even go beyond the framework of sports and become associations that also conduct activities related to health,such as health education.The Sports&Health Promotion Conference,proposed in a report by the Health and Physical Education Council in September1997,is one such association.It is a comprehensive association under which an entire region promotes activities related to sports and health education.MESSC launched a model for the development of such an association in1998.The model,called the"Children Play and Leisure Plan,"aims to promote sports and health.

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