Tuesday, April 24, 2012

#communitysport blog: Jamie Turley

Our latest blog in our Community Sport series comes from Jamie Turley. In his role as a Young Ambassador, 19-year-old Jamie from Ffynongroyw, has been responsible for inspiring, leading and coaching hundreds of young people in his community to get involved in sport.

The Sports Science and Outdoor Activities student freely gives up countless hours of his spare time to motivate othersto take part in a wide range of PE and School Sport activities, working closely with youngsters who wouldn’t normally take part.

Denbighshire Young Ambassador Jamie Turley

I am a Platinum Young Ambassador in Wales. For those of you who don’t know what this is; it’s a voluntary role that involves young people driving sport in their communities. It was launched alongside the Olympic Games bid for London, with each and every Ambassador putting into practice awareness of the Olympic and Paralympic values.

The role is a never ending trail of inspiration, to see the impact you have leading sporting opportunities for the young people around you. It can be anything from leading a sports session in a primary school, to delivering presentations to the Sport Wales Board and working with LOCOG. As Young Ambassadors we all share the passion to drive what’s summarised in the Sport Wales vision of getting ‘every child hooked on sport for life’.

Community sport is at the heart of my passion. It’s where my first opportunities came and where I always refer back to for anything I do. Sport at the centre of a community brings many benefits perhaps unnoticed at times. It not only unites the community young and old, through the social side many sports clubs bring, but it provides a common ground for the development of many life skills and personal achievement.

It teaches you respect for those around you, for your coach, and your team mates. I learn every time I’m involved in community sport and I’m inspired to achieve greater things for the benefit of my community. Seeing the kid’s faces light up with enthusiasm, and for them to be thankful for our efforts, really gives you a feeling of giving back to a cause which gave so much to me.

Community sport needs to be embraced firstly by the participants, if the children are motivated to take part then the sequence becomes like a snowball effect of inspiration. The coaches and volunteers inspire the children, the children inspire the coaches. Each community has its heroes and it’s about utilising and supporting everyone involved. I personally feel there needs to be more recognition for unsung heroes, coaches, volunteers, who - without fail - week in week out go out and deliver sessions with passion.

Facilities, finance, transport, kit; there are so many barriers sometimes to overcome, but one thing always comes out on top and that’s the passion that the people involved have in all they do.

Sport plays a huge role in bringing a community together. No matter what level if anyone’s ever played for a sports team or club, they’ll have friends from that club to last a lifetime. The common ground concept flourishes not only in a sense of like for like, members friends with members, but coaches, members, secretaries, treasurers, orange preparers, and supporters, the network it forms throughout a community - particularly the smaller ones - develops continually. This I believe cannot be summarized in writing but has to be witnessed as it’s personal to each and every community.

I have been lucky enough to have been selected as an Olympic torchbearer on May 29th in Towyn. This represents not only a great personal achievement but I feel I’m representing each and every coach, participant, and volunteer I’ve ever worked with. It’s a moment to shine, close enough to home for my community to be around and be involved with the celebration. Whilst at my new university home of Bangor I have also been asked to assume a role of volunteer co-ordinator at the Olympic flame evening celebration a day before my torch bearing.

Whatever happens I know having seen firsthand, the impact of the torch relay will be hugely influential and will create a long lasting legacy across my home region of North Wales. It will inspire the community as a whole, more participants into clubs, as well as leaders and volunteers to continue what they’re already doing for a very long time to come. But above and beyond that, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, inspiring members of the community to be the best they can be. 

As for the Young Ambassadors and the opportunities that brings; the program I feel will continue to grow and develop the next generation of leaders in sport.

This blog was written in conjunction with the launch of a strategy for Community Sport in Wales.  If you’d like your say, get involved in the debate on twitter – using the hashtag #communitysport and you can mention us @sport_wales