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Developing leadership skills through sport: Deanna Lundie

Active Schools Coordinator, Deanna, reflects on her sports leadership journey 

sportscotland is hosting ‘Lead to Succeed’ on Saturday 26 November, an event for young people to celebrate 10 years of two of sportscotland’s flagship National Lottery funded programmes for young leaders: the Young Ambassadors (YA) programme and the Young People’s Sport Panel (YPSP).

The Young Ambassador programme is a key element of sportscotland’s contribution to developing young people as leaders in sport.  

It is in its tenth year, and to celebrate, we caught up with Active Schools Coordinator Deanna Lundie who presented her leadership journey at one of the first YA conferences, to see where she is now, how her experiences in sport have shaped her as an individual and some of the work she is involved in.  

Early years 

Deanna threw herself into sport at school and found her love for football from a young age.  

“I would say my main sport is football. I played in primary school and then in secondary school I got more involved because we had a girls’ football club.”  

When it came to deciding what career path to go down, Deanna knew that sport was the right choice for her.  

“I enjoyed PE, and I started getting more involved in sport. I contacted my Active Schools Coordinator (ASC), and I asked if there was anything I could do to help, as I decided that I wanted to do something with sport when I left school. She helped me to attend different courses such as Dance Leadership and Sports Leaders: Women, Get Set, Go!” 

Sport opens doors  

Deanna’s drive to get more involved in sport, by reaching out to her Active Schools Coordinator, created opportunities after school in the sports sector, she said: 

“I volunteered with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with Coca Cola for three months. I was a Venue Operator, working in the athlete village at the Olympics and the velodrome for wheelchair basketball and rugby for Paralympics. That’s why I was a speaker at the YA conference where I talked about my time at the Games.” 

“I was also part of the Queens Baton Relay and travelled round Scotland for 40 days and nights with the baton in the run up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, and then again for two weeks around England in the run up to Birmingham this year.” 

“After Glasgow 2014, I had the opportunity to do Lead 2014 through college. I became a front runner for Lead 2014, which meant I travelled to Glasgow once a week to help organise it, and I visited other universities to see how they organised, developed and delivered the programme.” 

“I studied Sports Coaching and Development at College, and then I went on to do my degree in Sports Management.” 

Leadership experience 

Deanna gained various leadership experiences through school which have helped her in her adult life and career. She said: 

“I was a sports leader at school and volunteered at different local clubs. Now I run my own women and girls’ football club for different age groups that I started up in Nairn which is great leadership experience.” 

“I was quite lucky with Elizabeth my ASC; she created a local young
leadership programme in the school. Now she is the Leadership Development Officer for the Highlands, so the programme she developed in Nairn at my school is now Highland wide which is great.”  

Where are you now 

“Now I am an ASC for Nairn. My experiences growing up through school and volunteering with my ASC inspired me to figure out what I needed to do to become an ASC and then I just tried hard to get my foot in the door.” 

“As I went to Nairn school, I can see how the leadership programme has developed and can reinforce it myself now. We have a lot of new young leaders in place, and it’s great seeing it all taking shape.”  

“I have been quite lucky, my ASC from when I was in school now volunteers for me! She still does all the leadership stuff but we kind of work together now.” 

Highlights in sport 

“My sporting highlight was the opportunity to get involved in the Olympics and Paralympics. It gave me an insight into major sporting events and made me want to get involved with the Commonwealth Games and other major sporting events.”   

“It reinforced to me that you should take every opportunity because you might never get that opportunity again. If I hadn’t applied, I wouldn’t have experienced the Olympics, and that was just through Active Schools posting about it.” 

Skills development 

“I would say from my experience of being a football participant and having now developed my own women and girls’ football club, I can see both sides of how a club operates. If someone is volunteering at a club and trying to run a club, I now know how to help them.” 

“I’ve gained a lot of confidence and ability to work in different teams and meet new people.” 

Advice for young leaders 

“Take every opportunity you can, you never know where it might lead you. It can be something small that opens doors. You never know what you might end up doing in your life.” 

Find out more 

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