Over 400 young people joined Olympic gold medallist, Katie Archibald, for an online conference to welcome the latest intake of Young Ambassadors.
Young Ambassadors from more than 250 secondary schools across Scotland were represented at the event, which was hosted by broadcaster Rhona McLeod and live streamed on YouTube.
Young Ambassadors is a National Lottery-funded programme and a key element of sportscotland’s contribution to developing young people as leaders in sport. The programme has welcomed nearly 6,000 young people since the programme started in 2012. The conference plays a key role in providing the young people with the skills, knowledge and understanding required to undertake the role of promoting and inspiring other young people to get involved in sport within their schools and communities.
Sixteen-year-old former Young Ambassadors, Cassie and Katie from Keith Grammar in Moray, shared their experiences in a Q&A session led by presenter, Rhona McLeod, to help the conference attendees prepare for their year as role models within their schools.
They described how being part of the programme has given them a sense of achievement, provided new opportunities, built their confidence and self-esteem, and allowed them to make new connections in their school with other pupils, teachers and senior management.
Cyclist Katie Archibald, who won gold and silver medals at the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo, also took part in a Q&A session reflecting on her career so far and how sport has shaped her life.
She shared her love of sport from an early age, how she balanced her dual roles as a student and athlete, how she became a professional cyclist, the highs and lows of her career and how being asked to take on a leadership role within the British Cycling track team gave her the motivation to keep going as an athlete.
After the event Katie said: "I’ve been really impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of the young people at the conference today. They clearly understand the power of sport.
“People talk about athletes being role models but hearing from the Young Ambassadors, I think they are the ones who will inspire other young people to get involved in sport.”
With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, the focus for 2021/22 has been on developing resources, tools and online training from sportscotland to support and influence new and existing YAs for the year ahead.’
All the Young Ambassadors will receive a ‘Getting Started’ pack containing a polo shirt, pin badge for their school uniform and a ‘How to get started’ guide to support them in their role.
Young Ambassadors from the 2020/2021 intake have been given the opportunity to stay on in their roles as they were unable to have the full experience due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Young Ambassadors programme also includes adult mentors, including teachers and Active Schools staff, who support the young people on their leadership journey.
Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “This has been a challenging time for everyone, and young people have been particularly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, they have shown great resilience and today’s event has demonstrated that their enthusiasm to help their peers engage in sport is undiminished.
“Young Ambassadors is a fantastic opportunity for pupils with a passion for sport to begin their leadership journey, by building a network of like-minded individuals who can work together across the country to make a difference.
“Young Ambassadors have a critical role to play in ensuring that the voice of young people is heard as we work towards an active Scotland where everyone benefits from sport. This is the next generation of influencers and policy makers who will inspire others to become involved in sport and physical activity, and the future is in good hands.”
Find out more
Learn more about the Young Ambassadors programme