Sixteen of the country’s most inspiring young people have been selected from over 180 applicants to be part of the third Young people’s sport panel (YPSP) and will play an influential role in developing sport in Scotland.
Established and led by sportscotland, in partnership with Young Scot, the Young people’s sport panel will have the opportunity over the next two years to help raise the profile of sport in Scotland and make sure young people's views and opinions on sport are heard both at a local and national level. A rigorous recruitment process began in January 2016 when applications were submitted by young people between the ages of 14 and 25 from every region of Scotland.
In March the young people were then interviewed by a panel from sportscotland and Young Scot from which 50 candidates were selected for a second interview, which included a group session, an individual challenge and a formal interview ahead of the final 16 being confirmed in May.
Nice to meet you
The new panel formally took over from their predecessors at a weekend residential session at the end of June at Glenmore Lodge, sportscotland’s National Centre near Aviemore. This provided an opportunity for the young people to get an introduction to the various projects they will undertake over the coming two years.
One of the new panel members, Rhys, 15, who is a member of both Greenock Boxing Club and Boxing Scotland's Emerging Talent squad, understands the importance of sport and the positive effect it can have on young people of all ages. He has himself used sport to give his life more structure and he is fully aware of the power of sport in communities across Scotland.
Speaking about his delight at being part of the panel, Rhys said: “It’s fantastic to be involved in the Young people’s sport panel. The opportunity to meet like-minded people for the benefit of sport in Scotland and to represent my community of Inverclyde is a real honour for me.”
The panel is now in its third two-year cycle and sportscotland CEO, Stewart Harris, is delighted with the impact the panel has made on sport across the country.
He said: “I am always impressed by the commitment and passion for sport these young people have. They‘ve made a real impact both at a local and national level helping to implement programmes such as the School Sports Awards and contributing to the Youth Sports Strategy.
“They have also added a new dimension to our board meetings and challenged us to think differently which was refreshing. Having now met the young people on our third panel at the residential in June, I know we have another inspiring group who will have an equally positive influence on sport in this country and continue to make things happen.”
Spread the word
Part of the role of the Young people’s sport panel is to create online content that will encourage and entice their peers from across Scotland to get involved in sport. Much of this content is hosted online by Young Scot, who in turn use their established communications channels to reach a young Scottish audience.
Young Scot CEO, Louise Macdonald said: “We are extremely proud of everyone on the panel - both past and present - and the way they have, and will continue to, use their passion for sport to make a real difference to young people across Scotland.
"This new group were particularly impressive over the introductory weekend and I know they are going to create exciting opportunities for young people in their local communities to engage with sports and physical activity.”
It's no walk in the park
The young people have a busy two years ahead. They will continue to sit on the panel for the sportscotland School Sport Awards and help schools implement the programme. They have also been tasked with increasing the number of young decision-makers in sports clubs and hubs across the country as well as challenging key influencers at a senior level in Scottish sport.
The Rio Olympic Games and the prospect that this will be Scotland’s most successful away Olympics, is also likely to generate additional opportunities for the panel to highlight medal successes and, in doing so, raise the profile of sport among young people. Then, looking ahead, we have ‘The Year of Young People’ in 2018 and the panel will be heavily involved in sportscotland’s approach in helping young people across Scotland get the chance to live a healthier, happier lifestyle.
The panel will also spend time addressing sporting colleagues at regional and national forums - helping to promote the positive messages of sport, and honing their communication and presentation skills as they go.