Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’
Two years ago, Fran Edwards embarked upon a life-changing journey with the Young Leaders Programme, culminating in being part of the world’s greatest sporting spectacle.
Here, she explains why volunteering has become an important part of her past, present and future…
This summer was one never to be forgotten or equalled. As a member of the Surrey hub of the Young Leaders Programme, I worked alongside an incredible bunch of people to make a positive difference.
Over the past two years, we planned and delivered a number of community team projects and individual challenges that were inspired by the Olympic and Paralympic Values.
These projects ranged from bringing together different generations via board games and computer games, to creating an Olympic-themed mural on our local high street, with us being lucky enough to have athletes from the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trusthelp us run these events to promote awareness of the London 2012 games.
And the project culminated in a once in a lifetime opportunity of being a Games Maker at London 2012.
A place where magic happens
Walking onto the park on my first morning and seeing the main stadium in all its glory with thousands of people flocking in really brought everything home. I’ve never been emotionally moved by a location like it and probably never will again.
It became so much more than just a location, it became a place where magic happens – and I was lucky enough to be part of it. During the games, I welcomed the public to the park, gave out information & directions, scanned tickets, enthused visitors and generally did everything I could to make sure people had the best day possible.
We met, worked and had fun with an incredible number of hugely talented people including athletes, fellow Games Makers, employees and military who all went out of their way to make a difference. I loved every minute of the games, and it has without a doubt changed my life forever.
My highlights were holding the Gold medal of a French athlete, seeing Tom Daley perform, watching the opening ceremony of the Paralympics as a VIP guest of BP and seeing Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake in the 200m semi-final!
Being part of the greatest sporting event in the world
We all had different expectations and ambitions, but shared one aim; to be part of the biggest and greatest sporting event in the world. Collectively, we made it work better than anyone could have dreamt of. I have never been thanked so much in my entire life.
People were genuinely grateful and appreciative of the work that we were doing on their behalf. During the 2-year programme I have gained confidence and learnt and developed so much including networking, budgeting, event organisation and communication skills.
I am looking forward to my future armed with new confidence, knowledge and skills gained during this extraordinary experience, knowing what can be achieved if you work hard, aim high and grasp every opportunity with enthusiasm and determination.
There is no doubt that volunteering has helped me to achieve my goal of going to university and gain a job as a chalet host for this year’s ski season.
I am going to continue volunteering during my sports degree working with schools and sports clubs in the community and would encourage anyone, of any age to get involved and gain the rewards that volunteering can provide.
London 2012 has launched in style, and we’re proud that young people played a central role in the opening ceremony.
For the past two years vInspired has worked on the London 2012 Young Leaders Programme alongside LOCOG, BP and the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. Together we provided support for young people to deliver community projects in local areas combined with personal development opportunities and volunteer roles at London 2012.
Below Matt Hutchings, a young leader from the programme, reflects on his experiences…
Sitting watching the Opening ceremony on Friday evening I realised the lengths that the organisers had gone to ensure these games will inspire a generation.
The lighting of the Cauldron by seven young athletes who were chosen by seven Olympic legends is something I will never forget.
It was an opportunity for Young People to shine. Likewise, the London 2012 Young Leaders programme has allowed 100 young people to help change their local areas and apply for a volunteering role at either the Olympic or Paralympic games.
The Olympic legacy may not be crystal clear to everyone – but for me it’s been realised through taking part in such a positive and life-changing experience.
The people I have had the opportunity to meet and work with has been amazing and inspiring; from peers up and down the country to Olympic legends.
I ran projects with local schools; from creating a community mural based on the Olympic and Paralympic values, to running workshops and debates reflecting on what it takes to succeed in any given field.
Without my experience on the Young Leaders programme I would not have attempted to improve my community in such a way.
During the programme I was lucky enough to meet Olympic and Paralympic athletes alike. I was so inspired by the determination and excellence of Paralympic athletes that I decided to apply to be a Games Maker at the Paralympic Games.
Moreover the opportunity has shown me the value of volunteering to the point that I’m now addicted. The opportunity led me to join the vInspired Youth Advisory Board whilst also increasing my leadership involvment in Scouting.
I believe the Games has already inspired young people to be the best they can be, through sport, volunteering or employment.
The true legacy of the Olympics will be the opportunities it has offered to a generation. Opportunities they have taken and will never forget.
The Olympics has changed me. How about you?
Have you been involved directly or indirectly, in London 2012 and have a similar story to share? We’d love to hear them!
How do you feel the Olympics has or will impact on future generations? Share your comments below.
As far as sporting years go, Summer 2012 is nothing short of epic.
The London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games are sure to be a once in a lifetime experience for everyone across the country.
It’s the combination of athletes, spectators, and not least the range of volunteering and community projects happening across the country, that are set to make up the Games’ lasting legacy.
As if that isn’t enough inspiration to get involved, the summer holiday season and its current glorious weather (at the time of writing) is a great opportunity to get sporty.
As well as keeping the body and mind in good shape, sport can bring communities together, provide the opportunity to try something different and meet some new and interesting people along the way.
Here’s our ideas ways to get sporty and get involved in the 2012 celebrations this summer…
London 2012 events and festivities
London 2012 has already created a host of legacy programmes and events - and there are still plenty of ways to get involved in the Olympic festivities and become part of something special. Check out the London 2012 “Join in” webpages for a full run-down of local programmes running during and well beyond the Games.
The 2012 Community Games
The Community Games are a great opportunity to bring your community together to take part in sporting and cultural activities inspired by, and in celebration of the Olympics. It’s up to you to organise your Games in a way that works for you and celebrate the uniqueness of your community. There are still plenty of events running well beyond the Games. Find out more on the website.
This year, anyone can be a hero. Whether it’s planning the route, finding the pitch or encouraging people to take part – sport doesn’t just happen, it needs people to make it happen. Become one of 40,000 Sport Makers and you’ll not only get the skills, knowledge and opportunities you need to get more people playing sport, you’ll become part of the official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sports legacy. Now that really is something to add to your CV. Find out more and get involved.
This is nothing short of ingenious. Pairing runners with isolated, less mobile people in the community, GoodGym really does provide a meaningful way to excercise. Fit and willing volunteers can combine their exercise regime with any number of helpful tasks – from shifting rubble, and planting gardens to making deliveries and friendly visits to older people. The project has initially launched in East London, but plans are afoot to spread the initiative further. Find out more and get involved.
How are you celebrating 2012?
We’d love to hear how you’re getting involved in the London 2012 legacy. Share you experiences below.
For ideas and inspiration, why not check out the range of sports-related opportunities available on vinspired.com?
See the Sport England website for more useful information, advice & support for sports volunteers.
Yesterday, young people from Aberdeen, Hull and London celebrated the completion of their two-year participation in the London 2012 Young Leaders Programme with LOCOG Chair, Seb Coe and double Olympic Champion Jonathan Edwards.
During an inspiring ceremony at the British Museum in London, it was also revealed that as well as being given the opportunity to become London 2012 Games Makers, they would each receive tickets to this summer’s Games!
What is the Young Leaders programme?
The Young Leaders Programme was set up to give 100 young people the opportunity to make a positive change to their lives.
Over the course of two years, young people worked in small teams on community projects such as running a multicultural festival, creating a healthy eating project with primary school children and hosting a “winter wonderland” for terminally ill young people in hospital.
The Young Leaders also received leadership and communication skills training and workshops, with BP employees volunteering as coaches and a host of big name athletes, including Olympians and Paralympians motivating them throughout the programme.
An inspiring journey
One of the Young Leaders Fran, said: “It’s been really emotional being here, just looking back on the whole two years…it’s been such an inspiring journey for us. I’ve met people that I’d stay in contact with for life and wouldn’t have changed it for the world!
“Thanks to vInspired for being such a great help to us. The coordinators have been such great support. We wouldn’t really be here today without you guys. So thank you!”
Another of the Young Leaders, Matt, is also now on the vInspired Youth Advisory Board. But it all began with his experience on the Young Leaders Programme:
“To see how much we’ve changed since our first residential, to some of the great things we’ve done. – it’s amazing. Developing a relationship with my mentor and learning from them, that’s also been great.
“I’m now with vInspired on the YAB – it’s amazing to think that my journey getting here started with this programme.
“I’m hopefully off to uni in September hopefully. This programme’s given me adpatable skills and confidence for things like interviews, that will hopefully help me succeed going forward.”
A huge congratulations to all the Young Leaders from everyone at vInspired!
Julie Morrow, Communications Manager at Legacy Trust UK tells us about the exciting roll-out of the Comunity Games – bringing communities across England together to create their own Olympic and Paralympic-inspired event.
This week the Office for Civil Society announced £2 million of funding to roll out Community Games across the UK. The project was originally set up in 2010 with Legacy Trust UK funding in the West Midlands.
The Trust is an independent charity which is creating a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK, and we fund a wide range of arts, sports and education activities across the UK open to everyone, with a particular focus on young people.
Since 2010, there have been more than 200 Community Games across the West Midlands, but this new funding, and new partners in the form of YMCA and County Sports Partnership Network will bring Community Games to people right across England.
Community Games is a simple concept – it brings communities together to create their own Olympic and Paralympic-inspired event by organising a day of sports and arts activities for local people. Events can have a competitive edge or just be about trying something new, from archery and climbing to face painting.
The importance is on getting everyone involved and inspired by London 2012. The Olympic torch route has also been announced this week, so Community Games are a great way to celebrate the torch visiting towns and cities across the UK.
There are three main ways for young people to get involved in Community Games:
1. As a participant – visit the Community Games website which will soon have full details of all the current Community Games planned across England this summer
2. As a volunteer – once you have found an event near you on the website, you can contact the organisers to see if they’d like any help running the event on the day
3. As an organiser – if you are keen to develop event and project management skills you might be interested in organising your own Community Games. The website has a wealth of information on how to go about doing this and a toolkit to help you plan the day.
However you get involved, Community Games is a fantastic opportunity to learn new skills and make new friends, all on your own doorstep.
Close your eyes, and imagine you are on the finest beach in the world, lying on a towel with a cold drink and a trashy book. As you wiggle your toes in the warm sand, the stress floats gradually from your knotted muscles.
Your towel is supported by four million grains of sand, give or take. You wouldn’t miss any individual grain if it wasn’t there, yet those grains combine to turn your corner of paradise into something wonderful.
The volunteering effort around the Olympics is a bit like that. OK, there’s a load of top quality international sport going on, but it wasn’t that which won London the bid. What is special about our Olympics is that up to 70,000 people will volunteer – each individually anonymous, but all part of a glorious event starting with the Opening Ceremony on 27 July and ending with the Paralympics closing ceremony on 9 September. I’m not a great sports fan, yet I felt a strong calling to be part of this magnificent adventure.
In November, I was one of 14,000 people who embarked on the audition process to perform at one of the ceremonies: a hopelessly overambitious goal for a mildly overweight middle-aged accountant. Although I sing with Rock Choir and do some impro I was woefully unprepared for … a dance audition. I don’t do dance. Pretty much everyone there was younger than me, fitter than me, and better looking than me. After the four hour audition, I was expecting a polite “Thanks, but no thanks”. Yet somehow, I scraped through by the skin of my teeth to a second audition, where I was asked demonstrate my abilities at an entirely different new skill.
And astonishingly, on 16 January, I received some extraordinary news: I will be performing at the 2012 Opening Ceremony. So if you scan your TV on that amazing night, for one nanosecond one of the pixels will be me.
There will be thousands of opportunities to volunteer in programmes before, during and after the Olympics. So if you fancy being a grain of sand on the finest beach in the world, find a project that aligns with your passions and be part of something amazing this summer.
The chances I have had since I started the YAB board are amazing. Everything from meeting ministers at events such as the NCVYS conference to interviewing people to be commercial development manager at vinspired. There are even chances unrelated to YAB that have come from vinspired.com
The biggest one of these is the Young Games Makers Selection Events that have been created through the LOCOG organisation. It is amazing that I get the chance to have involvement even in an indirect way with a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The selection events see a group of volunteers interviewing and assessing teams of potential young games makers to be involved with events at the Olympic Games. We also have to judge their team leaders to make sure that they are able to keep their young people going in the run up, throughout and after the Olympic Games to create a legacy in the young people’s lives.
LOCOG have been great in my life and in the lives of the Young Games Makers. They have been assessing the core values of the YGM’s. These are openness, distinctiveness, delivery, teamwork, respectfulness and being inspirational. Seeing these young games makers and their team leaders demonstrate these roles makes them rub off on us and see the importance of the Olympic Games.
From LOCOG, I have learned all about the importance of the Olympic Games for now and the foreseeable future, in the lives of everyone, including the Young and Old. Maintaining the Games legacy is important in my eyes as it makes sport accessible for everyone and may help conquer the obesity epidemic. I also believe that the Games are important as they give young people the opportunity to volunteer for now, see the importance and this will hopefully inspire the next generation of young volunteers. This is the core value and aim of vinspired as an organisation.
I am thankful to YAB for opening the door to vinspired and its other opportunities. I hope these chances continue from now, until I leave vinspired and beyond. vinspired should become a legacy in my life, much like the Olympic Games.
Never a dull moment here at v. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting not one but three worldclass athletes – World In-line Skating Champion, Jenna Downing, former European and Commonwealth swimming champion ( who represented Great Britain for 10 years), Adam Whitehead and two time Olympic gold medalist,Dame Kelly Holmes. ‘Why?’ you ask… Aside from the fact you’ll generally find me hanging out with celebs in my spare time (cough cough), they were indeed all here for a specific reason - to join us to create a video to promote the upcoming NCS Summer Of A Lifetime programme. We’re teaming up with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and various local agencies and organisations around the country to create an exciting new programme this summer with 1,000 free places for young people to get involved. Expect the opportunity to attend residentials crammed full of problem solving, team building, outdoor activities (supported by world class athletes!) and the opportunity to plan and deliver a project to improve your local community; oh yes, not forgetting a large celebration at the end where you’ll get the opportunity to celebrate your achievements with those close to you and press. Sound good? Well, we’ll keep you posted…In the meanwhile here’s a sneaky peak at a few pics from the filming day (for the record, yes, the Olympic Gold medal Lorna’s holding below is real!).