Commonwealth gold medallist and athlete mentor Sarah Clark

Sarah Clark BP Young Leaders ProgrammeI have been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to be involved with the BP Young Leaders in Scotland over the last 12 months. These young people have inspired me. They have taught, talked, informed, laughed, involved and developed me as a person. I now know a lot more about myself, and understand others more than I did 12 months ago. I listen more. I advise less. I understand that each of us have challenges in life. We all have hang ups. We all struggle with something. However, I have learned to understand that each of us can learn, develop and improve. Through communication, questions, listening but most important by making mistakes.

Over the last twelve months, I have seen individuals seize opportunities with both hands, challenge themselves, step up to the mark and come out the other end a better person.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to meet the Action for Children Group, Sidi, Panache, Adele, Amanda and Lori (along with Jackie) while they were volunteering at the Glasgow European Open Judo for Women. I was there as a supporter (my club mates were competing as part of the GB Team), a British Judo VIP and part of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust ‘Give Back Team’.

sarah clark with BP Young Leaders

I arrived at the event at 10am to be greeted by a really enthusiastic group of young women. I was happy to see the girls. I went off for an hour to attend a JudoScotland catch up session, discussing ClubMark, how clubs have been getting on with the pilot system and how to move forward. I then ‘ran out’ of the meeting and into the arena and began watching the judo. There was four GB players in each of the seven categories (apart from -48kg where unfortunately we didn’t field any players). I was glued to the judo, almost until the break. I then went out and caught up with the BP Young Leaders. The girls were involved in various tasks taking place at the event such as facilitating mini movement sessions for children, organising people, becoming involved with the children as they tested their skills and many other tasks. It was then time for the girls to chill out for a bit. But did that happen? No! We went down to watch the Masterclass that was taking place in the arena during the break and then the girls were all asked by JudoScotland if they’d like to carry the flags at the opening ceremony of the competition. All were delighted to be involved.

Following the opening ceremony, we all sat together for a couple of hours and watched the judo finals. The girls were really looking forward to watching them and had special interest as Sally, Connie and Big Sarah, who were all competing in the final block. Sally won Gold and Sarah and Connie bronze. It was really interesting chatting to the girls, explaining judo, the rules, the whys, the why nots, what the scores meant, how you could win.  It actually made me appreciate and understand non judo players view and the complexity of the sport. It is a fantastic spectacle but some of the rules could definitely be modified (again) to make it more viewer friendly! We also spent time chatting to each other about ourselves, what we do day to day, our likes and dislikes.

Finally, the competition ended. I left to head down to the north east of England for a few days to see family and everyone went their separate ways. I will see Adele very soon again in Falkirk and I look forward to seeing everyone else in the near future. As always, I was proud of all the young leaders and had a great day. I have encouraged the girls to volunteer again at the European Championships next year as it will be a much bigger event and it would be fantastic to see them at a major championships.

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