More than 2,400 teenagers took part in last week’s two-day Ten Tors Challenge, in torrential rain and gale-force winds, but a team of six from Bristol received medals even though they didn’t complete the gruelling 35-mile trek across Dartmoor in Devon, UK.
As the 15-year-olds attempted to cross a swollen river they came across a girl who was being carried away by the floodwaters – they rescued her, then spent three-and-a-half hours assisting more than 100 other competitors cross the river safely. As a result, they missed their chance to complete the challenge.
But Brigadier Piers Hankinson, who organises the Challenge, heard about their selflessness, which he said “demonstrated the true spirit of the Ten Tors”, and awarded the team from Bedminster Down School with their medals anyway, at a special ceremony.
Photo: Outgoing Youth Leader (Havering’s first), Alicia Murphy
An online election will be taking place today (Thursday the 9th of May 2013), to select one of three young candidates who wish to represent the views of their peers across Havering London Borough, as Young Leader. As the Borough’s website advises eligible voters, “The post holder will participate in the Havering Youth Congress, where they will listen to and represent your views. The Young Leader will meet with other young people, within the borough, across London and the rest of the UK, so that they can tell politicians what young [people] think and feel.” It goes on to say that they will:
- Advise Havering Councillors on youth issues;
- Represent young people in Havering, London and nationally;
- Develop ideas and work with other bodies to further younger people living, working and studying in Havering;
- Attend ceremonial events.
Here’s what these inspiring young people have to say about themselves…
My name is Alice Donohue and I am 20 years old. Over the past few years, I have been Head Girl at my School, the Member of Youth Parliament for Havering and Chair of the Havering Youth Council. I have also worked closely alongside the police as a member of both the CPCG and IAG panels I also co-run a charity with a friend of mine supporting young people and encouraging them to involved in volunteering and charity work.
I am keen and a good listener and I have done a lot of work with young people. As a young person, I feel the young leader role is perfect for me as I have already worked closely alongside the Council and have the necessary skills to take on the role! I am lots of fun and have bundles of energy. I am keen and ready to go and accept the challenge of being young leader whole heartedly and with an open mind.
I have been a positive role model from young. I have experiences in leadership roles ad Deputy Head Girl, House Leader, School Council Leader, Business and Enterprise Squad Leader and Deputy Sports Captain at the Albany School. I carried out these roles effectively and efficiently to the admiration and respect of my peers and teachers. I have been involved in local politics since 11 years old when my mother was the Civic Mayor of the London Borough of Hackney 2006-2007 and I was her official Consort. Along with my Dad we run free Maths tuition for young people in Havering at Myplace youth centre in Harold Hill. This project, which is the first of its kind in the Borough was launched by the Mayor, Cllr. Lynden Thorpe in August 2012. I’m also a Youth Leader at my church and one of my responsibilities is to organise fund raising events for local charities in Havering. I will be working with 5 Deputies; Peace Ugbeikwu, Mahria Fayyaz, Stacey Button, Nikhita Lester, Alex Kirby and Ryan Fernandes who will assist me in my duties as Young Leader.
- As Havering Young Leader I will hold surgeries for young people and promote a young citizen panel which will be open to any young person who wants to get involved in having a real say and a genuine decision making power within the Borough
- I aim to raise the profile of the young people of Havering and champion their cause effectively
- I will help to develop a link with the Council into the wider communication initiatives which will reflect young people developing interest in the wider community
- I will help the Borough to plan (organise and facilitate) youth conferences with/for young people across the Borough
- Initiate workshops with the police and local young people explaining issues of community safety and how they can contribute to their own safety to promote peaceful co-existence among youths
- I will aim to increase youth participation in politics
- I will be engaged in a project with other young people to produce a Directory of Services which will sign post young people to organisations dealing with a number of their issues such as health, careers, sports and advice.
- I will aim to promote healthy competition in sports and academics amongst schools in the Borough
I’m appealing to young people to vote for me because I have the qualities, the skills and the experience in leadership roles which will help me in fulfilling my role as Havering Young Leader
I’m part of an active collective including; Terrel Wilson, Rebecca Joseph, Fraser White, Andrea Whitaker, Dayane Rodrigues and Ajay Pabial. We dare to challenge current stereotypes and perceptions attached to young people. We don’t believe in figureheads, instead, collaboration. However, we made the exception to allege one individual as lead contact. We know that collective leadership can work within a political model; for example, the Green Party of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
We’re culturally diverse, embracing all age groups, genders, nationalities, sexualities and beliefs. We’ve had successful experiences working individually and collectively in our community, projects like The Outback Art House and NICHE.
I believe that the youth today have become passive; our solution to this is by engaging youths to become socially active, creating events and activities. Change is enforced upon us and we don’t react to it. We feel that young people are not listened to. We are taught not to challenge even though we feel it is wrong. As a campaign we want to empower and inspire young people to have a voice. As a collective we want to bring more opportunities to help young people develop basic skills such as confidence, communication, curiosity and independence to help them in all areas of life now and in the future, giving each individual a chance to achieve goals they have set themselves. I am aware that this opportunity is not for our selfish gain, but for the benefit of the youth of today. As a group of creative individuals we believe we can give a fresh new outlook on today’s society, and with our creative backgrounds, develop our campaign in a unique and stimulating way.
This blog has highlighted on several occasions the impact that sport can have on young people’s development, so I was interested to hear recently of an initiative in the South-West (of the UK) called Community Action Through Sport (CATS), which was set up in Bude, North Cornwall, eight years ago, to encourage youth involvement in the community by rewarding participants with opportunities to experience new sporting activities, as well as other “healthy living rewards”.
Created initially in response to a local anti-social behaviour problem, the CATS initiative now involves school, youth group, sports and police representatives, as well as the young people themselves, and sets out to improve the latter’s image in the area. CATS branches have already been established across Devon and Cornwall, touching the lives of hundreds of young people, and the securing of additional (Big Lottery & Lloyds TSB) funding means that the programme will now be rolled out across the rest of the UK.
There are five levels of CATS awards, and levels 3-5 are designed to dovetail with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Rewards range from a leisure swim with a friend (Level 1) to an ‘extreme sports’ weekend (Level 5). Sports and other celebrities are usually involved in the award ceremonies.
Although we have seen a number of schemes that use sport to encourage youth volunteering and leadership development, this is the first I have come across that actually uses sporting incentives as prizes – an interesting idea. CATS says, “Volunteering is the Inspiration, Recognition is the key, and Sport is the driving force.”
Award winners with West Dorset District Council chairwoman Gillian Summers.
Throughout January, and into mid-February, residents of West Dorset were invited to nominate young people and groups from the county who had made a difference to their community by voluntarily giving of their time to help locally. The achievements of the nominees were then honoured a fortnight ago at an event entitled ‘Chairman’s Awards: Young Volunteer Champions’, held at the West Dorset District Council Offices, South Walks House, Dorchester.
The Young Community Champion award, for an individual aged 13-18, went jointly to Jess Element from Dorchester and Jacob Neal from Beaminster. Jess supports local young swimmers, is an active member of numerous swimming groups, clubs and sessions, and now trains and teaches regularly. Jacob cares for his mother and is an adult leader with the Scout Association, where he has been volunteering for the last ten years.
The Senior Young Champion award, for an individual aged 19-25, was won by Freddie Higgs from Cerne Abbas. Freddie is a young adult leader at Cerne Valley Youth Club and Cerne Abbas Scout Group. Freddie took full responsibility for running the club and its fundraising activities when the leader fell ill last year.
The Youth Group Champion award went to Sherborne Skate Park Group, who campaigned for three years to keep their skate park open, while they raised £187,000 in order to replace it with a new modern one.
In presenting the awards Council Chairwoman Gillian Summers said: “I want to congratulate all the people nominated for Young Volunteer Champion awards. We had so many worthy entries. I am delighted to thank these fantastic young people in this way for the help they have given to their community. It is brilliant that so many are prepared to give their time to make a real difference.”
For more information visit www.dorsetforyou.com/young-champion/west-dorset.
Last week two teens from Grantham, South Kesteven (Lincolnshire, UK) were recognised for their coaching and volunteering work in the sport of badminton.
Photo (L-R): Laura Graves, Badminton England player of the year Chris Adcock, and Tracey Lamb.
Laura Graves and Tracey Lamb were named Young Coach of the Year and Young Volunteer of the Year, respectively, at the National Badminton Awards on Friday 15 March, at the Birmingham International Convention Centre.
Laura qualified as a Level One coach just under a year ago, and gives weekly badminton sessions at her school, KGGS, where she is the appointed student badminton officer, as well as running BISI festivals for primary schoolchildren and coaches at South Kesteven Badminton Academy. In addition, she coaches at junior holiday camps, helps organise a weekly pay and play adult session, and is involved with the sports charity Inspire+.
Tracey is also involved with the Inspire+ student leadership programme, through which she has organised a training session for 250 young ambassadors and delivered a presentation to Lord Coe. She is also joint organiser (and a lead presenter) of the East Midlands Young Leaders Camp, which is now in its third year, and is a member of the Youth Sport Trust Ambassador National Steering Group.