Monday, July 18, 2011

Young Ambassadors: Inspiring Through Sport

With a year to go until the London 2012 Olympics nearing, one of the legacies of those Games is already paying massive dividends here in Wales. The Young Ambassador movement, in partnership with adidas, Youth Sport Trust, LOCOG and Sport Wales, was set up  to give young people more of a voice and to empower suitably proactive young volunteers with the opportunity to share the Olympic and Paralympic values with their peers to inspire them to take part in sport.

We hear from two such inspiring Young Ambassadors, based in Rhondda Cynon Taff, about their experiences so far.

London 2012 is fast approaching and it would appear that the Young Ambassador movement is truly in its stride.  As Young Ambassadors we act as role models to other young people in our schools and communities to inspire them to participate in sport and to raise awareness of London 2012 and the Olympic and Paralympic Values.

With around 300 Gold and adiStar Young Ambassadors around Wales examples of success stories are springing up all across the country and the importance of empowering young people is becoming prominent, with the results stretching across every sector of sport in Wales. This past week in particular has displayed the growing need for emphasis to be placed on the influence of young people in sport, especially Young Ambassadors.

We both attended the Sport Wales Stakeholder Conference and delivered a workshop entitled, ‘Getting every child hooked on sport for life – How we do it!’ This was a great opportunity for us to influence key decision makers across Wales and a challenge which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We explained how we both have very active roles in both the school and community setting, similar to every other Young Ambassador, and participate in various activities such as 5x60 activities, community coaching and other voluntary work within our school and local areas.

Natalie Davies, a fellow Gold Ambassador from Maesteg Comprehensive School, also attended the Conference and shared her amazing successes as a YA. At the start of the year she set up a dance school in her local community which has attracted over 60 children every week.   They recently entered and came third in the British Hip-Hop Championships which means they have qualified for the World Hip-Hop Championships in Las Vegas.  She certainly inspired us and if that doesn’t outline the impact of young people in increasing participation in sport and enthusing other young people to take part and enjoy sport then we don’t know what does!

In our opinion the conference was a great accomplishment. It was a chance to allow a large group of like-minded people from not only the sports sector, but also the health and education sectors, to congregate and share ideas and information regarding the implementation of the ‘Vision for Sport in Wales’. Also, the Conference was a brilliant chance for Natalie and ourselves to present what responsibilities Young Ambassadors can undertake and how we have a unique voice which has the power to impact sport in Wales.

Some might question the reliability and potential for young people to impact sport but it is becoming more and more evident that we have the ability to positively inspire others. By using London 2012 and the ‘Vision for Sport in Wales’ as catalysts our roles as Young Ambassadors are becoming a vital tool in achieving Wales’ ambitious aspiration of getting ‘Every Child Hooked on Sport for Life’. 

Although the YA movement is constantly developing and constantly progressing we still need people to listen and empower us. So please, take a risk and give us the opportunities to show you what we can do!

Adam Anzani-Jones and Ollie Smith,
Gold Young Ambassadors, RCT