Jun 7, 2024

VISION & IDEA

Enriching the Future of Sports: Corporate Contributions

The DENSO Sports Academy: Fostering Community Revitalization and Youth Development

Sports are instrumental in promoting physical and mental health and critical to education and community revitalization. Despite this, challenges such as decreased time for school club activities and restrictions on sports in public areas can impede the advancement of sports initiatives.

At DENSO, we have committed to enhancing sports promotion and invigorating local communities through the DENSO Sports Academy, which shares the enjoyment of sports with local youth. We heard from Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, Head Coach of the U21 Women's Volleyball National Team and a member of DENSO's Sports Promotion Office within the General Affairs Department, to shed light on these efforts.

Contents of this article

    Fostering Community & Corporate Collaboration through Sports

    Sports are indispensable to enriching our lives.

    Since its founding, DENSO has promoted sports with the concept of "bringing vitality to the workplace." Today, DENSO operates six reinforcement-designated sports teams, such as volleyball, basketball, softball, long-distance track and field, table tennis, and rowing, and it also has other sports teams.

    Building on this foundation, DENSO's sports teams continue to excel in competitive scenes and proactively engage in nurturing the next generation and revitalizing local communities through sports.

    Among them, the Airybees*of the volleyball team (from now on referred to as Airybees) has entered into hometown partnership agreements with the cities where the DENSO Group’s bases are located, such as Nishio City and Okazaki City in Aichi Prefecture, Koriyama City in Fukushima Prefecture, and Sapporo City in Hokkaido. They aim to energize both volleyball and the local communities through collaboration with local governments. Their efforts include promotional activities such as advertising city policies and supporting regional revitalization at various local event venues, and sports promotion events.

    Furthermore, the team has received support from local administrations, including securing venues for games held in their hometowns and establishing operational frameworks, thereby they have built a cooperative relationship.

    *The Airybees is a member of the V.LEAGUE V1 (Japan's premier league) and three-time national championship winners.

    Creating Moments That Make Children's Eyes Light Up

    Among the initiatives with local governments under the hometown partnership agreement, Hiroyuki Yamaguchi feels that the volleyball program has made a particularly significant impact.

    "Being there in person, I'm deeply moved when I see the light in the eyes of children participating in the volleyball program. This program fosters the children's growth and significantly boosts their motivation," says Yamaguchi.

    Yamaguchi adds, "We aim to increase the opportunities for children to chase their dreams and to experience meaningful moments through sports." Behind this, it is a challenge that children have fewer opportunities than ever to engage in sports.

    To address this, DENSO has launched the DENSO Sports Academy. Beyond the volleyball program, we are committed to providing opportunities for children to engage in sports from the perspective of sports education.

    "To ensure a future where more people remain involved in sports, it's essential to provide children with opportunities to engage deeply with sports and increase their overall physical activity exposure. That's why at DENSO Sports Academy, we believe it's crucial to keep innovating and pushing forward in our efforts," Yamaguchi explains.

    This initiative was launched to spread the joy of sports to a broader range of children. At present, it provides volleyball and basketball programs for elementary pupils and junior high school students residing in areas covered by our hometown partnership agreements, as well as nearby regions. The coaching team is composed of former top team members, including individuals like Yamaguchi, who bring their experience as players and instructors to their current roles as coaches.

    Mr. Yamaguchi coaching a student

    Promoting Sports for the Next Generation and Community Revitalization

    A report by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology identifies a shortage of coaches as a challenge to revitalizing sports. Yamaguchi mentions that he would like to contribute to addressing this issue even for a little bit as the company through the initiative above.

    Yamaguchi expresses, “We would like to operate the DENSO Sports Academy as the hub which connects a wide range of people with sports by inviting not only children but also the trainers of the club activities of schools and local communities. By doing so, we believe we can help energize the entire sports industry.

    What's crucial is considering the future of sports and evolving our initiatives to be beneficial for the next generation. Yamaguchi shares his vision for the future of the DENSO Sports Academy as follows:

    "Continuing to be involved in sports as a player or a coach is incredibly rewarding. However, when thinking about the future of sports, it's vital to focus on the next generation.

    Indeed, it might be challenging to tackle the issues individually, such as letting the children know how attractive sports are, developing trainers to support them, and supporting the stable careers of the athletes. However, we can make a significant contribution to it with the help of many people taking advantage of the position of a company.

    That's why I hope we can continue to be even more active at the DENSO Sports Academy moving forward," says Yamaguchi.

    Watching over the students

    The DENSO Sports Academy is seizing the opportunity provided by the signing of hometown partnership agreements to deepen collaboration with local governments in various sports. This effort is aimed at generating an even greater impact on nurturing the next generation and revitalizing local communities.

    VISION & IDEA

    Writer:Inquire

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