Having been involved with Champions in Schools as an athlete for several years and as a Programme Manager since 2014, I know very well the positive impact our athlete Champions can have on young people. Although not all of the young people we access are particularly interested in sport, the messages of ‘Success through Effort’ and ‘Learning from Failure’ that our athletes deliver are synonymous with any path a young person choses to take. We encourage every youngster to work hard towards their own personal best, to embrace new challenges, to be resilient during struggles and to learn from setbacks.
We shouldn’t underestimate the impact our role model Champions can have on pupils. I remember delivering two sessions in a school and noticed that one girl never seemed to be engaged or paying attention. On my third visit to the school, I asked the group what they remembered from my previous visits, this little girl piped up immediately with ‘you told us winners never quit and quitters never win!” She managed to paraphrase my two hours of work into seven words and had been listening and understanding all along.
The Champions in Schools visits are beginning to take place in each of the 20 RAfA schools across Scotland and we are hugely excited to see how our programme and the Champions help to close the attainment gap in these schools - indeed I hope in time that we will see our programme mentioned among the contributors that make Scotland the best place to grow up.