Over 80 young people will come together to work with former Olympic and Paralympic athletes for the Youth Sport Trust Young Ambassador programme presented by adidas.
Fresh from winning Gold in the double sculls at the World Rowing Championships, rowing champion Katherine Grainger MBE will make her way to Edinburgh to join Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robinson, MSP, as they both open the first Young Ambassador conference of the year at Edinburgh International Climbing Arena in Newbridge on Thursday 22nd September.
Over eighty 14-19 year olds from across the country will attend the day after being selected by their school to be a Young Ambassador tasked with using London 2012 to inspire others.
A World champion with three Olympic medals under her belt and one of the most successful women rowers in the world, Katherine is no stranger to commitment, perseverance and team work. Leading the opening ceremony, she will share her experiences of what it takes to be involved in an Olympic Games event, the importance of role models and the impact of inspiring others.
The group of young stars have been acknowledged for the prestigious roles by their schools, having shown exceptional commitment and ability as young leaders or volunteers, to become Young Ambassadors, an initiative presented by adidas and delivered in Scotland by the Youth Sport Trust and sportscotland. Central to their mission will be spreading the Olympic and Paralympic values of respect, friendship, personal excellence, courage, determination, inspiration and equality and showing how people can adopt them into their lives.
The aim of the day is to inspire and motivate the Young Ambassadors through London 2012 and the Olympic and Paralympic values, so that they can then go back to their schools and inspire and motivate other young people. A team of former Olympic and Paralympic Athlete mentors including World Champion bobsleigh athlete Nicola Minichiello, Paralympic middle distance Champion, Tim Prendergast, Gold medal winning gymnast, Craig Heap, International Hammer Throw athlete, Shirley Addison and Scottish Curler, Ewan MacDonald, will host workshops for the Young Ambassadors, as well as a number of experienced Young Ambassadors.
During the sessions, the mentors will share their own experiences of what it's like to be part of a Games event and encourage the Ambassadors to think about how they can make London 2012 relevant to their own community. A number of experienced Ambassadors will also discuss their important role and the ways in which they have made an impact in their schools and community.
With training well underway for next year's Games, taking time out of to coach the next generation of Olympic hopefuls and volunteers is an important focus for Katherine: "I'm privileged to be opening the first Young Ambassador conference of the year and to be part of such a powerful programme. Competing at an Olympic Games is the ultimate achievement and the best feeling to know you have trained hard, pushed yourself and your boundaries and have come out fighting in wining form. It's incredible and has definitely changed me as a person. I admire these young people who are so keen to support and promote the Olympic and Paralympic values, as they are genuine representations of what the Games stand for. I'm still buzzing from the World Championships and really hope I can use my energy and reflections to help these Young Ambassadors spread that message and ensure London 2012 touches everyone."
Alison Oliver, director of sport the Youth Sport Trust, which is responsible for delivering the programme said: "Our Young Ambassadors programme demonstrates the influence that young people can have as role models with their peers and those younger than themselves. Since the initiative launched in 2006, thousands of young people have been recognised by their schools for their ability and exceptional commitment as young leaders or volunteers. With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games drawing closer, these conferences play a crucial role in encouraging Young Ambassadors to harness their passion for sport and use their energy to make London 2012 relevant to other young people within their own schools and local communities."
Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said: "I am delighted to be here to witness this excellent initiative, which provides a unique opportunity for young people to promote and encourage sport and physical activity amongst their peer group.
"Studies show that school based sport can build confidence, self esteem and embed a lifelong love of sport and physical activity. Young Ambassadors is a great way to make the most of the legacy of London 2012 and will act as a fantastic precursor to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games."
The Young Ambassador movement was set up by the Youth Sport Trust, following London's winning bid, which promised to use the 2012 Games to inspire millions of young people through sport. Now, there are almost 5,000 Young Ambassadors working across all corners of the UK using the inspiration of next year's Games to increase participation in sport amongst other young people and raise the profile and understanding of the Olympic and Paralympic Values in schools and communities. In June 2008 the Young Ambassador programme was the first in the UK to receive the London 2012 'Inspire mark' which recognises outstanding, non-commercial initiatives inspired by the Games.
By the time we reach the opening ceremony of London 2012, more than 10,000 Young Ambassadors will have been active in their schools and communities, organising sports festivals, leading school assemblies, coaching, inspiring and setting an example to others.
Young Ambassadors are able to access the Get Set website, the PE and sport strand of the official London 2012 education programme, giving them access to films, resources and activity ideas that they can download from the website and use to help when planning events and projects through the year. They can then register the activities they have planned, demonstrating how they are inspired by London 2012, to apply for their school to be a member of the Get Set Network.
Through the partnership, adidas has provided some great opportunities to the Young Ambassadors over the last year, including the chance to sit on the official judging panel for the adidas Name the Olympic Football competition, to be part of a TV advert for adidas' new 'All In' campaign and to attend a number of high profile adidas photo shoots with sporting stars like Jess Ennis.
This conference is the first of ten taking place around the country from now until the end of the year.