17 March 2010 saw the launch of the Gravesham Borough’s first Young Ambassador Programme at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend. The Conference brought together more than 200 young people from schools across Gravesham selected as Young Sports Ambassadors.
The Ambassadors aged from 9 to 19 years took part in London 2012 themed team challenges and learnt about the role they will play as an Ambassador within their school and for the Gravesham Schools Sport Partnership.
Proceedings started with all the Young Ambassadors receiving their Leadership Academy T-Shirt and Badge. Bronze Ambassadors (primary) and Silver Ambassadors (secondary) were then grouped together as families and divided into 20 teams of ten. Each team was given a special Olympic or Paralympic team name.
This was the first time any of the Ambassadors had met and it was wonderful to see the Primary and Secondary students working together and supporting each other. Fun interactive team ice breakers created the perfect opportunity for all the teams to get to know each other a little better. The Question Web game was a clear favourite with the students enjoying the cheeky ‘would you rather questions’.
The Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Bronwen McGarrity was one of several specially invited guests and proudly introduced Danny Crates as the special guest speaker. Danny shared his outstanding achievements, experiences and amazing story with the Ambassadors. His presentation was very inspirational and set the tone for the day perfectly. As a thank you, Danny was presented with a commemorative plaque designed by 10 year old Kayleigh, the overall winner of the Gravesham Borough Council’s special 1,000 Days Countdown Art Competition created by Jane Packham, Gravesham 2012 Officer for the London Games.
Throughout the conference the Ambassadors worked as a team to undertake both physical, problem solving and creative challenges, attempting to earn as many points as possible to win both individual and group prizes for their team. All the challenges reflected the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Respect, Friendship and Excellence were reflected in the Bronze, Silver and Gold Physical Team Challenges which tested the teams Agility, Balance and Co-ordination.
Inspiration and Determination challenges were set by the Platinum and Gold Ambassadors. The teams were asked to be creative by looking at seven different Olympic and Paralympic photographs and deciding which Olympic or Paralympic value they thought the photograph depicted. The final challenge tested the teams determination to solve a 40 piece jigsaw puzzle of the London 2012 logo as quickly as possible.
Courage and Equality challenges were set by Jane Packham, Gravesham 2012 Officer for the London Games. The teams had a series of five mini challenges involving various problem solving questions, such as naming the different logo sponsors of the Olympics, working out the cost of Olympic and Paralympic venues as well as bravely playing charades to act out various Olympic sports for their team members to guess.
The games and challenges created an electric atmosphere amongst the teams with some wonderful teamwork being demonstrated across the age ranges within a team.
The final Ambassadors challenge was set by the Gravesham 2012 Officer. The Leadership Academy is working very closely with the Gravesham Borough Council to provide fantastic opportunities for students and the local community to be involved in Olympic and Paralympic themed events leading up to the London Games. One such opportunity launches this April, as Gravesham opens its very own adiZone, a free outdoor activity area for all the community.
The adiZone’s design was inspired by the many sports of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The facilities incorporate basketball, football and tennis areas, a climbing wall, an outdoor gym and an open area to encourage Taekwondo, Judo, gymnastics and other activities such as dance and aerobics. The design includes disability ramps and elements of the IFI guidelines.
The Young Ambassadors were asked to create a pledge using the adiZone as their inspiration to come up with some ideas for activities and competitions that they could organize for their family of schools and the wider community.
The day ended with presentations of Bronze, Silver and Gold medals to the winning teams and special awards to individuals who demonstrated Olympic and Paralympic values throughout the day. Everyone left the conference feeling part of a team and excited about the plans for the future.
These Young Ambassadors have committed to using the values and essence of the forthcoming London 2012 Games to inspire their fellow students in both primary and secondary schools over the next two years in the run up to the Games. Volunteering, inspiring and leading projects within the school and community are key examples of the work that the Ambassadors will carry out.
The next step for our Young Ambassadors is to spread the excitement of London 2012 using the GO FOR IT programme inspired by the Kent 20in12 executive starting an educational, cultural and sporting journey for everyone involved.