The two years in question have been spent on the London 2012 Young Leaders programme. I met Sean at the graduation event – held at the British Museum, London – for 79 young people from various parts of the UK who have completed a remarkable programme of self development.
In bidding for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, London 2012 made a commitment to deliver a project to support Young Leaders. Now, with the great support of BP and a number of leading youth organisations, this group of young people have had the opportunity to participate in a personal-development programme. They’ve worked in teams to devise and deliver community volunteering projects inspired by the Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Values, and the programme culminates in the Young Leaders taking a high-profile role at Games time as volunteers.
The range of projects has been enormous – days out for young carers, renovating an adventure playground, healthy eating awareness workshops for school students and much more. Sean and his team ran multi-skill sport sessions for disabled young people. They’ve delivered their projects with expert support and supervision from vInspired across England and Aberdeen Foyer in Scotland, as well as inspiration and motivation from athlete supporters from the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust
Young Leaders from Aberdeen, Hull and London came together with friends and family to celebrate their achievements on the programme. They received certificates marking their two-year commitment to the programme, and a ‘yearbook’ of photographs from the various projects and activities they have delivered through the programme – a thoughtful memento of their involvement in London 2012.
Seb Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, spoke of his pride in seeing the Young Leaders programme come to fruition and acknowledged the important personal journeys the Young Leaders have been on. They began the programme as 16 year olds and have stayed the course as they’ve progressed through school and college, and begun their adult lives. Many of them have also secured university places, while others are considering their career options. Sean, for instance, has a great future in the IT sector mapped out.
BP coach Julie Amos, who was partnered with Young Leader Hally Nguyen, explained that she had also learned from the experience. After 20 years with London 2012’s Oil and Gas Partner, Julie said her own leadership and management skills had developed watching Hally grow from a shy 16 year old into a confident and capable young woman. And Hally bravely told the British Museum audience that they discovered more shared interests than she could ever have imagined, including chatting at weekends about the Twilight films and Jessie J!
The Young Leaders will have the chance to put their skills and experience into practice this summer as they take up volunteering roles at the Games. As I left the Graduation I walked upstairs to the British Museum’s first floor where there is a special display of the London 2012 medals. From behind a noisy crowd of school groups and tourists, I took a long admiring stare. But I wasn’t thinking about the ingenious design or the planning of the Victory Ceremonies. It struck me that Sean and the other Young Leaders have just enjoyed their own medal-winning moments, and there will be a lot more well-justified glory coming their way over the next few months.