My name is George Gornall. I’m 18 years old, live in Stirling and I attend St Modan’s High School. I’m currently a member of the sportscotland Young People’s Sport Panel and a young board member of ClubSport Stirling.
My first memory of sport was playing rugby at my local club in just Primary 2. I didn’t have much of a clue of what was going on, but I quickly fell in love with the sport. I played for 4 more years, won a player of the season award and regularly captained my age group, most notably on Tour to Wales in 2013, one of my fondest memories of the game. After stopping rugby, I’ve tried athletics, tennis, ballet, cricket and kept up my love for cycling. Since going to high school, I have enjoyed making some of my best friends and memories by playing with my local football club. The natural leadership skills I had when I was young, I’ve nurtured and developed them into opportunities today. Watching and learning from other leaders and coaches has been vital for me to grow in confidence and become a better leader – sport was the catalyst for that. My family and friends have also played a crucial role in giving me confidence to believe in myself with any opportunity I go for.
I heard about the Young People`s Sports Panel when one evening I was being curious and wanted to learn more about sportscotland so had a nosey on their website. The opportunity to join the panel was advertised, so I read into it and learnt about what they do and the opportunities they get – it looked incredible. I sent off an application thinking about how cool this unique opportunity was. To work with a national organisation and make a positive change in sport, that would be amazing. Nine months later, after a delayed and altered interview process, thanks to Covid, I received a call letting me know that I would become a member of the 5th YPSP panel. Quite shortly after, I was contacted by Active Stirling and ClubSport Stirling who were keen to get me involved in what they were doing. They saw the benefit of having a young person involved in their discussions. Now we are working on improving youth involvement across Stirling. This is hopefully going to go along with a ClubSport Stirling Youth Panel later this year. This is to help give young people’s voice an improved platform and let them develop essential skills for life.
I want to be a part of improving the pathways for young people in sport. From taking part in school, to joining a club or becoming a coach or volunteer and developing leadership skills. Furthermore, mental health is a topic I am also passionate about, especially after the year we’ve just had. Sport is one of the best ways to support positive mental health so I’m keen on encouraging more people to understand and make the most of the benefits of sport.
Advice for other young people
SAY YES! Any opportunity you get, no matter how difficult or out of your comfort zone it sounds, make sure you say yes. It can often be difficult to find opportunities, so it's important to take them when they come about. Show leadership in everything you will do, you can learn so much and transfer vital skills that you learn through sport into other areas of interest.
Scottish ClubSport has developed a Youth Panel Toolkit and supporting documents to support Sports Councils and ClubSport networks in recruiting and developing young people on a committee/board. We are also currently planning a webinar and further training (dates TBC) to bring this toolkit to life.
If you would like to find out more about how to engage young people in your activities, find out more about future webinars and workshops or if you are a young person (under 25 years old) and would like to support your local Sports Council and ClubSport network, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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