“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Scottish sport, without whom it would struggle to function as it does…”
Which is why almost 50,000 youths have teamed up to prove that the Glasgow Commonwealth Games is not just all about the athletes.
As sporting stars train hard for the forthcoming competitions in Glasgow, Lead 2014, an initiative which celebrated its fourth year earlier this month has had over seven times as many young Scots sign up to it than it had in its first year.
Working in partnership with Glasgow 2014, SportsScotland and Youth Sport Trust, the project has set up ‘mentoring’ conferences for its participants across Scottish universities which will run up until the end of March.
The aim being that university students will be teaching leadership and volunteering skills to ‘Young Leaders’ from secondary schools across all 32 local authorities.
These skills are then brought home and used to host sports festivals and events for their peers. The idea is to promote Glasgow 2014 and show the youngsters that the nearing Commonwealth Games are about them too.
Last year a total of 141 Lead 2014 inspired sport festivals were held as a result of the conferences – it is in no doubt that this number will rise significantly this summer in the weeks running up to the games.
Head of SportScotland, Stewart Harris, believes these festivals and events created and run by the children will bring a lasting legacy.
“Lead 2014 has already provided thousands of young people with the opportunity to enhance their skills, as well as helping to build their enthusiasm for the Games. Glasgow 2014 represents a wonderful opportunity for all involved in Scottish sport, and as the programme continues it will help provide us with a sporting legacy to be proud of.”
Deanna Lundie, from Nairn, is a frontrunner for the project and will be taking part for the third year running. Starting off as a student attending Lead 2014, she has now organised and delivered many sporting events in her local area.
“I believe that volunteering in this event helps with building self-confidence, through interacting with others as well as dealing with difficult and new situations. It means you can help others and enhance your own CV.”
The project does not only encourage young people and enhance skills in confidence and leadership but also gives them opportunities to get involved with sport and sporting events.
“My commitment to volunteering was rewarded when I got the opportunity to work at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in both the Athletes’ Village and the Velodrome, an unforgettable experience. Following this, I got selected to represent Scotland at the European Youth and Sport conference in Cyprus where I focused on volunteering and why it was important to people.”
David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014’s chief executive, agrees that sport is the way to go.
“Using sport as a platform to promote leadership, volunteering, health and well-being, Lead 2014 instils in the students and pupils a desire to be part of the Games and to become more aware of and involved in the Commonwealth.”
And the next stage for Deanna is indeed the Commonwealth Games where she will be volunteering her skills – first of all though she has 50,000 youngsters to work with so their summer can be just as sporting, confident and memorable as the athletes.
“….which is why creating the next generation of leaders in sport is so important.” (SportScotland.)