Olympic silver medallist Gemma Gibbons blogs about the BP Young Leaders Programme 2014

Edinburgh Dec 2013 2

Earlier this week I made my way down to the Inspiring Scotland offices where I spent the day assisting Craig Heap in delivering a workshop to seven of the young people on the BP Young Leaders Programme 2014. The young people had made it down to Edinburgh from all across Scotland and we had representatives present from Action For Children, Aberdeen Foyer and Shetland.

The aim of the workshop was to get as much feedback out of the young people as possible in order to help guide and support the programme moving forward.

Edinburgh Dec 2013 1

Before we began, Craig had everyone write down the last time they had played (had fun), brought the right attitude to a situation, made someone’s day and was truly there! Everyone came up with some great situations and it made us realise that these four things are extremely important and actually quite easy to achieve. By the end of the day we had people fighting to see who could make someone’s day by making them a cup of tea.

We began the workshop by looking at the positives, negatives, improvements to be made and benefits of the training day in Glasgow last month. It was great to see that all of the young people had lots of positives they wanted to voice about the day, and only a few negatives, and these were mostly related around the food available on the day, so not bad at all. And it now looks like we might be getting pizza next time so there’s already a bonus!

Edinburgh Dec 2013 3

The young people loved the team building games (as much as us athletes I think) and wanted something like this at the beginning of all training days to break the ice and help everyone to relax. The young people made it clear how much they enjoyed having the athletes at the training day and wanted this to be a permanent feature at all forthcoming events. It was lovely to hear how we as the athletes had not only inspired them but had made them feel more at ease going into their Commonwealth Games interviews.

Next up the young people shared with us what they had been up to in their local areas since the last training day. They had been getting up to all sorts of things from charity runs,  to planting trees in their community, to training up to be first aid qualified. I was really impressed with just how much the young leaders had been doing for their communities but even more impressed with how enthused they were when talking about what they had been up to and when explaining their upcoming plans.

We then went on to discuss what qualities we thought made a good leader. The young leaders came up with a vast list, and reassuringly they already possessed many of these skills and attributes.

Craig and I asked the young leaders what opportunity’s they would like in the future. Alongside being taught how to deal with disengaged peers, young people with disabilities and taboo subjects like drugs and sex the top opportunities they would like were to visit the Commonwealth Games venues prior to them beginning their voluntary work, to collect more athlete autographs and to spend a day in the life of an athlete. I think it’s fair to say the athletes are making a real positive impact on the young leaders.

The last area discussed was communication and how we could enhance this. They decided Facebook was the way forward and that they would like to make a private group for all of the young leaders to join where they could share ideas, photos and what they have been up to in their local communities.

The young people then presented their findings from the day to a room full of the Young Leaders delivery partners. They did a great job and got their points across clearly and effectively.

I had a fantastic day, the young leaders were great and put maximum effort in all day and for me it was a great opportunity to work alongside Craig and to see how the pros do things. This was only my second time working with the DKH Legacy Trust and I found it really helpful getting tips and ideas from one of the Trust’s most experienced athlete mentors. Thanks Craig.


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