Schoolyard14 was launched on Wednesday, 25 April 2012, Johan Cruyff's 65th birthday.
The health of our young people has been an increasing public concern for some time. These days many children grow up in a world where they spend all day staring at a screen: television, computer, games, mobile phones; all keeping children indoors sitting down instead of playing and exercising outdoors. And we see the impact every day: widespread childhood obesity, social isolation, poor physical fitness, and all the increased social and health risks that these entail. In reality, the solution is very simple. Teach children to exercise again. Starting at school.
The Johan Cruyff Foundation wants to get all children exercising. This is a goal we have been pursuing for 15 years now, with the Cruyff Courts (small sports pitches and courts), the sports projects for children with disabilities, and our own sporting events. But there is still much to do. Alarming statistics for overweight and obesity demonstrate the importance of exercising. The foundation also recognises that a multicultural society requires us to make contact with others from a position of mutual respect. That's why we are constantly seeking new ways to reach even more young people. The place to get closer to children and reach them in a meaningful way is school. As with the Cruyff Courts, we want to create a schoolyard where children are challenged to play together, to exercise, and to take part in sports. To that end, we have created a new initiative: Schoolyard14.
'In my day, playing outside was just what you did, no question about it. These days children spend more time playing with their mobile phones or at the computer. That's completely understandable, but it's also why there are more and more children who are overweight or have other problems. In fact, the solution is very simple. We have to teach children to exercise more, and we have to do it at school. With just a few simple additions we can create schoolyards across this country that challenge children to play together and exercise. But that only works if we do it together. If it were up to me, we would turn every schoolyard into a Schoolyard14.'
– Johan Cruyff