1/14/2021

Valio Akatemia® fellows for 2021 have been chosen

Valio awards over 300 scholarships to support sports hobbies for children and young people – a special scholarship is given to a floorball cub to ensure local exercise activities

Valio Akatemia® awards a total of 130,050 euros to support sports activities for children and the youth in 2021. Together with the Valio Akatemia® programme’s sponsors, 335 young fellows have been chosen. The programme’s sponsors are footballer Joel Pohjanpalo, skiier Kerttu Niskanen, hurdles runner and orienteer Topi Raitanen, and skiing YouTubers Real Skifi. In addition, Valio Akatemia® has chosen to grant a special €3000 scholarship, that will be handed over at the Sports Gala on 14 January to floorball club Vihdin Salisudet.

Valio Akatemia® received over 2,000 applications, from which we have chosen 336 fellows. Any individual athlete under 18, team and school group in Finland that either participates or is interested in sports can apply. Valio Akatemia® supports youngsters that are either looking to start a sports hobby or wish to continue one, as well as ones that have already seen success and who have long-term goals.

“Sports and exercise are significant to children and young people. We want to show a variety of support to sports hobbies: our fellows represent every region in Finland; they are of all ages and participate in a great variety of sports: from individual sports to team sports, from individual applicants to teams as well as school groups”, says Valio marketing manager Nina Wahlström.

The programme’s sponsors, footballer Joel Pohjanpalo, skiier Kerttu Niskanen, hurdles runner and orienteer Topi Raitanen, and skiing YouTubers Real Skifi were all involved in the final selection. Stipendiates include competitive athletes as well as children and young people that are early in their sports hobbies.

From tricking to trials

Every year, new sportspeople find the Valio Akatemia® stipend application process. The fellows chosen this year include, in addition to traditional favourites, sports such as tricking and trials. Sports often combines with art, and some of our support has been given to children’s dance theatre and classical ballet.

”It’s important for us to encourage children and young people to be active in their personally preferred way. What’s most important is the joy of sports”, says Wahlström.

In 2021, Valio Akatemia® gives out 336 cash, product and nutrition stipends. Cash and product stipends are used for, among others, to pay for memberships, facility rent, coach and season fees as well as race travel and equipment purchases.

Nutritional stipends, on the other hand, support the athletes’ overall wellbeing with snack and cooking courses and nutritional coaching. Coaching and courses are carried out jointly with the Martha Organization, which is a home economics organisation, and the Finnish Sports and Exercise Safety Program.

Special stipend ensures sports activity close to children

Valio Akatemia® grants an annual special scholarship, which is presented at the Sports Gala, Finland's premier event, on January 14. The fellow must be an example of promoting sports, wellbeing and development for children and young people. Their activities must represent the joy of sports, a sense of community, small and large success, motivated and engaged children and youth, and adults involved in the activities. The activities must be persistent and show a pioneering spirit.

“We chose floorball club Vihdin Salisudet's C1 boys’ team, i.e. the team of boys born in 2005. One year ago, the team was in a tight spot as players began to transfer to the clubs in neighbouring towns, as the coaching team broke apart. Through determined cooperation, their new coach and the players made it possible to keep their activities in their home town, their own club, and with their friends. Their efforts also led to success, as the team broke through to the first youth division for the first time in the club’s history”, says Nina Wahlström.

The special scholarship is worth €3,000, and the team plans to use it on enabling goal-oriented floorball activities in Vihti.

Further information: All 2021 stipendiates have been notified personally. The stipend application process for 2022 will begin in summer 2021. Anyone under 18 that lives in Finland and either participates or is interested in sports can apply. Applicants can be individual athletes, teams, a class of children.

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