Members of the Young People's Sport Panel reflect on the great achievements they celebrated in their sporting lives in 2018.
Earlier this year I was nominated to go to trials at BT Murrayfield for the Scotland Under-18 rugby squad. This consisted of a two-day selection process. The first day there were 94 girls who attended and it included the dreaded Bronco test. Despite the fact it was a selection day into a national squad I couldn’t help but enjoy myself.
I tend just to turn up at these events with no hope of getting selected as I have low levels of confidence, meaning I never put any intense pressure on myself. I go to have fun. Luckily this is what head coach Rudi Urbach wanted to see, a team with a high-performance level with the ability to enjoy themselves.
After the first day, we were told we would get confirmation at nine o'clock that night. I logged in to my email and there was my invitation to the second day. To say I was excited was an understatement. On the second day I upped the tempo.
Hard work, determination, focus and fun are the key to unlock your best abilities.
I left the training knowing I had out-performed myself but I wasn’t so sure about the other people. When I got home there was yet another email waiting for me, congratulating me on my efforts and telling me that I had made it into the team. I couldn’t believe it, I made it into the Scotland squad. I could now wear the thistle over my heart and feel proud of my achievements.
This year has been filled with countless new and exciting opportunities that I am so grateful for. On reflection, deciding what achievement to talk about has been difficult, but I am extremely proud of one shared achievement which demonstrates the impact of being a young leader in sport. I was delighted to successfully gain a place on Fife’s Platinum Ambassador Programme.
As a Platinum Ambassador I played a key role in the planning and delivery of Fife Active Schools Ambassador training day held at St Andrews University on 22 August. As a team we spent more than 40 hours over the summer holidays visiting the venue, creating and rehearsing our six workshops, which we were offering to all 120 Young Ambassadors on the day. I lead a workshop centred on the Young Leadership Pathway, an initiative used by all Active Schools teams, coaches and participants across Fife. Furthermore, I was asked to share my sporting story as part of an Inspirational People in Sport workshop.
The Platinum programme has been very rewarding. It allowed me to meet other amazing leaders as well as developing strong relationships with ASCs from throughout Fife. The programme has helped me develop valuable skills such as public speaking, organising large events, timekeeping and advanced teamwork skills, all of which will support me in future endeavours.
I left St Andrews University that day knowing I had not only influenced those new Young Ambassadors, but also that many other young people would be beginning their leadership journey across Fife. It’s something I am very proud of.
My sporting highlight of this year was winning a gold medal for Scotland at the Home International Regatta in Cork. My aim from the start of the season was to get into the Scotland junior rowing team and to do well. It was a team effort and not only from the girls in the boat I was rowing with but everyone else in the squad, the coaches and most importantly our parents, all of whom helped us achieve our goal.
I was in a boat with my pairs partner Heather, also from Inverness, and Abigail and Megan from Aberdeen. We clicked as a crew from our very first training session and this came across in our performance. We all enjoyed rowing together, we are all extremely competitive individuals and most importantly we loved going fast.
We knew we had a good chance of winning and that to win we had to believe in ourselves and one another. The race was very exciting and we led from the beginning, pulling away from the other crews. Of course it was painful, but pain is dulled when you realise you’ve won, especially since we won for Scotland.
Just over year ago, I was elected as one of two Young Ambassadors for my school, Biggar High. After attending the conference at Hampden Park in September we were bursting with inspiration and determination to help make a positive impact on sport. Our countless plans and goals fuelled by this captivating conference were just waiting to be put into action.
Of course, the year wasn’t all plain sailing, but we managed to achieve a great deal of what we had initially bombarded our PE teacher with. I wanted to give something back and to help share this experience with other Young People just waiting to make a difference in their schools.
I was honoured to be given a space on the Young Ambassador Conference Delivery Team for 2018. The first time I met the group was for the overnight residential in Larbert. It was an intense first day of modelling and analysis but already, working with a collection of Active Schools coordinators, mentors, PE staff and other Young people, was helping us to really believe in the key ideas of the conference.
We really bonded as a group and received so much support from sportscotland, so following our training days I felt prepared for my role and just hoped I could do the position justice.
The conferences were daunting at first, but I learnt many new skills in the process, I made amazing new friends, and hopefully, I managed to share my own passion with Young Ambassadors across the nation, who are now working to help better Scottish sport in their own communities.
Video: #SportPanel celebrations
Watch our video to find out what the panel were grateful for in 2018 and what they are looking forward to in 2019.
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