Scottish ClubSport YPWG Development Day – Dana`s Story

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Scottish ClubSport YPWG Development Day

About the Author:

Name: Dana

Age: 23

Local Authority: Fife

Roles Held:

  • Scottish ClubSport Young People`s Working Group (YPWG),
  • Scottish Disability Sport Young People`s Sport Panel (YPSP)

On Saturday 8th June 2024, Scottish ClubSport brought its Young People`s Working Group (YPWG) together to meet new members, plan their activities and discuss key topics in Scottish sport.

As part of the day, the group were joined in the afternoon by several organisations from across sport in Scotland and representatives from their youth leadership programmes. Organisations in attendance were – sportscotland, East Fife Sports Council, ClubSport Aberdeen, RYA Scotland, Scottish Women in Sport, Scottish Athletics and Netball Scotland.

One of Scottish ClubSport`s new YPWG members is Dana Brand who shared her experience of the day with us. So, grab a cuppa and read about Dana`s YPWG Development Day experience.

Dana`s Story:

On the 8th of June, I had the opportunity to attend the YPWG Development Day at the Stirling Highland Hotel. Having just joined the working group, I was both nervous and excited to meet everyone in person for the first time. On arrival, I was initially a little overwhelmed, but this was soon diminished after finding a couple of familiar faces waiting at the entrance. I was instantly welcomed into the group, and I am so thankful for how lovely everyone was as this really put me at ease.

We began the day with an introduction from our Youth Director, Louis Gallagher and the National Development Manager, Gary Grieve before starting a quick ice breaker activity. I am not usually a fan of ice breakers; however, this was the perfect way for me to learn about everyone in the room and about their passions and involvement in sport in a short amount of time.

We then moved on to discussing some key areas within youth leadership with board members Jessica Baillie, Evan McLean and Amanda Fleet. Our group discussions focused on communications, equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and volunteer recruitment. It was a very relaxed morning and conversations flowed with every person having a voice and sharing their opinions. I felt it was extremely easy for me to address areas I felt mattered which is incredibly important when involved in a youth leadership role, we need to feel like our voice matters!

The first table discussion looked at developing communications. We felt that promoting opportunities, highlighting achievements and providing accessible content will bring greater engagement to our social media platforms whilst also showcasing the amazing work that Scottish ClubSport are involved in. A key point amongst all groups was the need for an Instagram account to engage with younger audiences. This is in the works and will be happening in the future!

We then reflected on equality, diversity and inclusion within sport, identifying key barriers that stop people getting involved. As a young disabled person who grew up in a household with a low socioeconomic status, sport has played a pivotal role in my life and given me a place to be myself. It is so important that we break down barriers such as accessibility, financial requirements, transport and inclusion and promote and encourage community sports and opportunities for all. We need to understand the wants and needs of our local communities and put in the work to further develop opportunities that give everyone a place to be involved in sport.

Lastly, we discussed volunteer recruitment. I have only in the last year become more heavily involved within sport through volunteering and I would say this is mostly down to being on the Scottish Disability Sports Young People Sport Panel. Had I not been on the SDS YPSP, I would never have been informed of the many wonderful opportunities that are out there for young people to be a part of. It is so important that we promote local volunteering opportunities and invest in youth leadership and provide pathways of development as this is the way to get the younger generation involved. Listening to young people and investing in young people is vital for sport development.

These conversations only made me more passionate and happier to be part of Scottish ClubSport. It was a great way to be introduced to the YPWG and I instantly felt like my voice was being heard.

The afternoon brought more organisations together from across Scottish sport which provided a great opportunity to talk about youth leadership. After a welcome and introduction to who was in the room, we were given the chance to introduce ourselves properly to the people on our tables over a lovely lunch provided by the hotel! Before our roundtable discussions began, all the young people on the day were asked to complete two mentimeter questions.

  • How strongly do you believe that sports organisations are listening to young people?

Young Leaders rated this a 3.0 out of 5

  • How strongly do you believe that you can make a difference in your organisation?

Young Leaders rated this a 4.2 out of 5

We then moved onto roundtable discussions. Our first roundtable discussion looked at recruitment and retention of volunteers in sport. Some key thoughts from the discussion looked at social media playing a big role in developing, advertising and promoting volunteer opportunities. Shadowing opportunities to help introduce young people to new areas involved within sport volunteering, like officiating and administration. Lastly, breaking down roles and responsibilities to make volunteering manageable around each individuals lifestyle.

We then had a small break where all the young people attending were put into small groups and given the opportunity to walk and talk. We were to discuss the days themes as well as talk about our own involvement in sport in order to get to know more about each other and different organisations.

During our walk and talk active break, staff from each organisation met together to discuss the key challenges and opportunities of youth leadership programmes in their organisations.

Positives were;

  • positive impact of their youth leadership programmes
  • having youth voice in their organisations
  • the power of young people, new ideas, energy, insights

Challenges were;

  • finance to support programmes and make them sustainable
  • developing pathways for young leaders

Returning to another table discussion, we looked at how we can strengthen youth voice in Scottish sport. It is important that we actively listen to young peoples voices and opinions, we aren’t just a tick box exercise! In order to keep young people involved we must show that young people’s voices matter and are valued. We should also look at providing a wide variety of volunteering opportunities, everyone has different strengths and there is a place for everyone to get involved! As adults in sports organisations, it is also important that they give young people direction and purpose.

Following these conversations, every young person was again asked to complete the same mentimeter questionnaire from the beginning of the session. This provided a great way to see how the day had influenced our feelings in regard to youth leadership.

  • How strongly do you believe that sports organisations are listening to young people?

Young Leaders rated this a 3.5 out of 5 – an increase from 3.0

  • How strongly do you believe that you can make a difference in your organisation?

Young Leaders rated this a 4.6 out of 5 – an increase from 4.2

I hope that the discussions from this day were noted, and that action is taken to ensuring that young people are heard and valued within sport.

The Scottish ClubSport values are to be supportive, inclusive and collaborative and the YPWG Development Day was exactly that!

Scottish ClubSport would like to express its gratitude to Dana for sharing her experience of the YPWG Development Day. Scottish ClubSport would also like to thank all organisations and individuals who supported and attended the Development Day.

Moving forward, Scottish ClubSport has committed to working with partners to find opportunities to deliver similar sessions in the future and more information regarding this will be available in due course.

If you are interested in being part of a future session as a participant or organisation, please contact Gary Grieve, National Development Manager – [email protected] 

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