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Lead to Succeed

Celebrating 10 years of young leaders

This year marks 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 YA programme is a key element of sportscotland’s contribution to developing young people as leaders in sport. The YPSP provides a national platform for young people, and panel members influence and shape the future of sport in Scotland and raise the profile of sport.

On Saturday 26 November 2022, sportscotland hosted Lead to Succeed, an event at the University of Stirling to reflect on the impact of the programmes, hear from two amazing panels of Scottish athletes and former young leaders, and equip young people with more knowledge and skills to support them in the future.

Young leaders' success stories

In the week leading up to the event, we published six Sport First articles to highlight how former YAs and panel members were influenced by their time on the programmes, and how the leadership skills they developed through sport have led them to where they are today.  

It was fascinating to hear a range of stories; Jess Barrows who now works at Scottish Student Sport; Ian Rae who works as a PE teacher; Kirsty Ewen who works for Scottish Disability Sport and the Scottish Association for Mental Health; Mark Gallacher who works for Royston Youth Action and the Beacon Warriors Charity; Deanna Lundie who works as an Active Schools Coordinator; and Fraser Johnson who works for Scottish Cycling.

We hope these articles inspire the next generation to recognise how sport can be a tool for developing skills and can contribute to their leadership experience.

Ready, set, lead

We kicked off the event with a meet and greet with five amazing athletes ready to inspire the young leaders: Hannah Miley, Ross Murdoch, Chris Bennett, Melanie Woods, and Lewis Stewart. The 100 attendees from across Scotland had the opportunity to mingle with the medallists, ask questions and of course, grab a selfie! 

The young people were given the opportunity to choose a morning and afternoon workshop during the event from a range of topics to help them further develop as young leaders.

Before the first workshop started, we were warmly welcomed by our host Rhona McLeod who then hosted a panel Q&A with the five athletes, giving a unique insight into their careers in sport and their advice for young leaders.

Melanie Woods said: “It’s really important that we create opportunities to include everyone in sport and that is why programmes like this are so important. Developing leadership skills that will help take young people through all aspects of their lives is vital.”

Ross Murdoch said: “It is massively important that young people are given the opportunity to get involved in leadership programmes. Sport is for everyone, and we need to do what we can to create those opportunities to keep young people engaged because sport can change lives."

"It’s incredibly inspiring to see that young people want to be involved in sport whether that be as coaches, volunteers, officials, or young leaders.”

For the afternoon session, it was back to the auditorium for another panel session, this time with former young leaders, YAs and YPSP members. We heard amazing stories from Mark Gallacher and Deanna Lundie, Colin Millar, Head of Marketing and Communications at Team Scotland, and Sam Butler, PE teacher at Newbattle High School.

The panel gave some great advice for young leaders and highlighted several different routes into a career in sport, leaving the young people feeling energised before heading into their second workshop!

What's next?

It was exciting to celebrate the impact of the leadership programmes on young people and that’s not the end of the story. The sixth Young People’s Sport Panel will begin in January, and lots of great work has already been accomplished by this year’s Young Ambassadors across the country. We can’t wait to see what the next generation of young leaders bring!

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