Members of the Young People's Sport Panel discuss the skills they've gained through sport, and the impact it's had on their personal development.
Sport and physical activity has always been a main focus and drive in my life. From a very young age I have always participated in and thoroughly enjoyed sport. When I was younger I participated in as many sports as possible - from gymnastics to climbing, cycling to athletics, I gave everything a bash! A huge thanks to my folks for being my taxi drivers - sometimes taking me to 2+ sporting clubs a night!
I represented Fife in the Under 13ʼs, 15ʼs and 17ʼs Netball Squads as well as competing regionally and nationally in trampolining. I thoroughly enjoyed the competitive aspect of sport, and I cherished the feeling of pride and total excitement when winning a competition/ game. I also valued the feeling of disappointment and lessons learned when things perhaps didnʼt go to plan.
After gaining a nasty knee injury I was completely out of all sport and physical activity for over 6 months. I openly admit, this was probably the toughest period of my life so far. I was very unhappy as I put on weight, missed out on opportunities and lost my way - sport was everything to me!
I knew when I finally returned to my clubs it would be tough, however I didnʼt appreciate how significantly my fitness levels would decrease, making it very difficult to reach the level I’d been at previously. It was apparent that I had lost my passion and enjoyment for the sports, especially competing.
However, I then sat down with my folks, PE teachers and Active Schools Coordinator to consider other possible ways of remaining involved in sport. This is the beauty of sport - it is versatile, inclusive and varied. I quickly became heavily involved in the coaching aspect of sport.
I was gaining qualifications, learning new skills and meeting and working with a variety of ages, abilities and personalities.
I became involved in Fifeʼs Young Leadership Pathway and in fourth year I was successfully chosen to be an Active Schools Sport Ambassador. The programme helped boost my confidence and vital life skills such as leadership, communication and event organising. In fifth year I successfully made it onto Fifeʼs Platinum Ambassador 2018/19 programme. As a Platinum I was involved in organising, facilitating and delivering a Regional Ambassador Training Day for 122 newly recruited Ambassadors from across Fife.
Sport has certainly helped shape me into the confident, outgoing and driven individual I am today - through sport, my opportunities and experiences have been limitless. I will always be very grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way, and I cannot wait to see where sport takes me in the future!
Sport has not only given me career opportunities, it has given me opportunities to travel and experience things that I have never done before. Last summer, with the organisation Challenger Sport, I travelled all around California and bordering states running football camps. The experiences I had of living with host families, meeting new people and working with the kids on camps is something I will never forget.
Before going out I was nervous and lacked in confidence. But being out there I developed as a person and came back more confident in my coaching ability and in myself.
I met friends for life and the memories of the summer will stay with me forever.
The love for sport is the same in every country and I feel privileged and happy that I got to share my love for sport with the next generation.
Before sport I was “that kid” that no one wanted to hang about with and that parents thought were a bad influence. I found myself involved in all sorts of trouble - being excluded from school, multiple dealings with police, constantly falling out with friends and family - and had severe anger problems.
Throughout second and third year, I really struggled in school and was failing most of my classes, but in PE is where I fell in love with sport. I then got involved in sports leadership at school and with my local sport development team.
Volunteering gave me something positive to channel any negative energy into and helped me develop as a person.
While volunteering with my local sports development team, I also managed to gain so many transferable skills that helped me in my academic life as well and I started to get back on the right path.
3 years on I am now in full time employment with Active Clacks as a Sport Development Modern Apprentice, and also a member of the Young People’s Sport Panel. I am off to university in September to study criminology with an end goal of joining the police. I can honestly say without sport I would never have got into university!
Sport has given me so many amazing opportunities, from travelling abroad to referee, to delivering national conferences and meeting so many like-minded people. Sport has also given me crucial skills that has developed me as a person. Sport really does change lives, and I am so thankful for every opportunity I’ve had.