“The Young Ambassador Programme is a true legacy of London 2012. Established by the Youth Sport Trust (YST) when London won the right to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the programme has now become embedded in our schools. Young people are now aspiring to, and striving to become, the next Young Ambassadors in their school”
Athlete Mentor Jeanette Kwakye with Erin Philips and Holly Deere
On Tuesday 21st January myself, Erin Philips, and Holly Deere travelled to Solent University Southampton to attend the Youth Sports Trust Young Ambassador Conference.
We arrived at around 9.30am and were greeted by organisers and members of the Youth Sport Trust and PB Education. We then made our way to the theatre/stage room, where all other Young Ambassadors were seated. A short opening ceremony began at around 10.00am. The ceremony showed clips of the London 2012 Olympic Games, to remind everyone of athletic role models and how it inspired a generation. We were then taken through the agenda of the day and split into our groups.
The first workshop was ‘Lead Your Generation’. In this workshop Young Ambassadors highlighted what makes a good Ambassador and how we can inspire others. In groups we each discussed qualities that a Young Ambassador should have. Some of these qualities included being confident, organised, motivational and friendly. We then discussed how we can use our skills and qualities to inspire and lead our generation. Suggestions included were :
- encouraging less confident peers to take part in sporting activities that they would not usually participate in.
- organising new sporting events to everyone, as many felt males were more dominant when it came to sports, and as Young Ambassadors we want everyone to be included.
- getting communities involved as well as pupils around school.
The second workshop was ‘Personal Development’. This workshop looked at role models and how a Young Ambassador should act .In small groups we conversed about how using our enthusiasm could benefit others. As a whole group we then talked about experiences of disappointment within our lives, and how we have acted upon them. We looked at inspiration role models within sport and society and how they have made a change, and how we can use their courage to inspire others.
The final workshop was ‘Athlete Mentor’. This workshop was highly inspirational. During this workshop we heard a motivating story from Jeanette Kwakye. Jeanette is an athlete for Team GB. As a child Jeanette was very good at athletics but did not have the right attitude. She began training but shortly gave it up. Jeanette later re-joined her athletics club as she saw other members progressing further than her, this encouraged her to get back in the game.
Jeanette went to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and raced in the finals. She shared her story and told us how to keep on track. Jeanette spoke about always ‘staying in your own lane’ and not to worry about what others are doing.
After this we concluded the conference with an ‘Action Plan’. We discussed with Mrs Smith the plans we are going to make to improve sporting attitudes in our school. We are now hoping to inspire the pupils at Test Valley School and maybe make a difference to their thinking.