As a child I struggled in school and always felt behind my peers. At about 9-years-old I was getting very frustrated with school and falling behind, at 11-years-old I failed my SATs. Around the same time my parents introduced me to sport, they knew something needed to change and they encouraged me to take up fencing.
The first time I went to my local fencing club I refused to go in to the gym where they met, thankfully my parents persisted. When I picked up a sword, I took to the sport straight away, it was the first time I felt like I was good at something. As my success in fencing grew my confidence grew with it, when I experienced failure I got straight back up and started again. Over time this grew from just in fencing to all areas of my life. It taught me to find my own solutions in school and to not give up. From failing my SATs, I went on to achieve good GCSE’s and Alevels’s. I attribute this to the resilience I grew participating in sport.
Following my A levels, I went on to study Sport Management at Loughborough University. After I finished my degree, I wanted to take what I had learnt back to my local community in Northumberland. Coming back to live in rural Northumberland I struggled with loneliness. All the friends I had made were no longer there and outside of work I felt very isolated. I knew I needed to join a sports club but living rurally there was not many opportunities for people my age. This drew me to join Cambo Young Farmers Club. The club provided me with opportunities to connect with other young people in my area. As a member of the club I again had opportunities to participate in physical activity and this helped me retrieve my resilience.
I became the School Games Organiser for North Northumberland last year. It was an incredible opportunity, working with a range of different schools including some of the smallest in the country. It developed my understanding of the challenges schools and organisers face in providing sporting opportunities, specifically in rural communities. Working directly with young people as a School Games Organiser I decided I wanted to become a primary teacher. I am now currently undertaking my PGCE in Primary Education as I want to support young people that I work with to reach their full potentials.
As a member of the YST Youth Board I aim to be an advocate for physical activity for all young people, focusing on sport for education and sport in rural communities. I appreciate the power sport possesses to change lives, it has changed my life and will continue to change many more.
YST Youth Board Member