Throughout September, 616 young people from local secondary schools and their mentors came together for the 2019 Young Ambassadors conferences.
With six conferences across Scotland in Perth, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow, the young people were given the chance to meet well-known athletes including Eilidh Doyle (athletics), Ross Murdoch (swimming), Leanne Crichton (football) and Kieron Achara (basketball), who shared their inspiring stories to the new group of YAs and helped them prepare for their role as role models within their schools.
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 more than 4,500 young people since the programme started in 2012. The conferences play 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.
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The 2019 conferences were hosted by former athlete and broadcaster Rhona McLeod, who shared her views on the power sport can have in developing key leadership skills, as well as talking through her own career in sport. Rhona also discussed the success of the programme after seeing first-hand its impact through her daughter, Briagha, who was a Young Ambassador in 2018.
Young people at the heart
Young people were at the heart of the conferences, with the workshops delivered solely by the 29-strong Conference Delivery Team, who took the new YAs through the content required to undertake the role within their schools and communities. This is the first year the annual conferences have been led by young people. The Conference Delivery Team, aged 14 to 20, were selected earlier in the year and attended training sessions to enable them to be able to expertly deliver the sessions.
Six of the group were given the opportunity to open one of the six conferences and share their own experiences of being a YA in a Q&A with host Rhona.
The conference also provided the 317 Young Ambassadors mentors the chance to develop their current mentoring knowledge and practice with an adult mentor workshop.
What they said
Speaking at the Edinburgh event, hurdler Eilidh, who has won medals at all of the major athletics championships, said: “It’s been great to be in Perth and play a part in sportscotland’s Young Ambassador conferences.
"The young people at the event put forward some great ideas and clearly have a real passion for sport.
“I look forward to hearing the success stories this time next year.”
Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “Our Young Ambassadors conferences provide an excellent opportunity for pupils across the country who are passionate about sport to come together to make a difference. It offers them the chance to meet exceptional athletes and leading sport professionals, the pupils can also gain invaluable first-hand knowledge which will help them in their sporting journeys.
“Becoming a Young Ambassador is a fantastic role. Not only is it a great way to develop new skills, build confidence and meet like-minded people in sport, but the programme helps youngsters develop as sporting leaders by influencing and reflecting the views of other young people.
"We encourage our Young Ambassadors to motivate and inspire others to get into sport, helping shape decisions to ensure youngsters have the best possible sporting experience across Scotland.”
Find out more
Learn more about our Young Ambassadors programme