To celebrate International Women's Day, Sport Cardiff held a leadership enhancement day to help young females feel empowered and experience the opportunity to upskill themselves as leaders.
The event, which was held at Cardiff Metropolitan University, was organised by Higher Education Young Ambassadors (HEYA) from Cardiff Met and was supported by Sport Cardiff. The HEYAs planned the full day and invited year nine and ten female students within the YA programme from high schools across Cardiff to take part in a range of activities. Schools involved include: Cathays High, Llanishen High, Radyr Comprehensive, St Illtyds High, Ysgol Bro Edern, Whitchurch High and Ysgol Plasmawr.
During the day the group took part in activities that encouraged them to talk about what makes a good leader and which females inspire them. Emma Watson, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Michelle Obama were among those highlighted as most inspirational within the groups.
The girls then considered the traits of a strong female leader and thought about their own physical literacy journeys – sharing their experiences among the group. The discussion led to the identification of some inspirational sporting superstars including a Team GB sailor, Glamorgan Cricket Player, Cardiff Swimmer and a South Wales development athlete.
Alicia Steer, who is a platinum Higher Education Young Ambassador at Cardiff Met and is currently undertaking a volunteer placement with Sport Cardiff to develop the Young Ambassador scheme across the City, said: "As a young female sports leader who has already gone through and reaped the benefits of the YA programme, I feel it is important to empower other young girls to do the same.
"The HEYA International Women's Advancement Day has given female ambassadors at the university the chance to inspire young girls to develop their leadership skills and we thank the School of Sport & Health Sciences and Sport Cardiff for their support in helping us do so."
Caitlyn Aubrey, a year 10 pupil from St Illtyds, said: "The event has enabled me to understand more about leadership and has opened my eyes to what it will be like to come to University, which is something I am keen to do. The YA programme has improved my social skills by encouraging me to mix with pupils from other schools, which has helped develop my confidence."
In addition to the morning session with the high school pupils, Sport Cardiff North Officer, Gethin Smart, arranged for local primary school, Christ the King, to attend an afternoon session with pupils from Year Five to participate in physical activity that was delivered by the Young Ambassadors. This opportunity enabled the Young Ambassadors to put their learnt leadership skills from the day into practice.
Fay Benningwood, Women and Girls Sports Development Coordinator, and the Girls Together campaign lead for Sport Cardiff, said: "The enhancement day celebrating International Women's Day was a great success. Watching the Higher Education Young Ambassadors deliver activities has been very inspiring for the younger girls and throughout the day it has been clear that we have some wonderful young people within our programme who have the potential to move into leadership roles in the future."
The Young Ambassador programme in Wales is run in partnership between Sport Wales, the Youth Sport Trust and the sport development team in each Local Authority.
The Young Ambassador programme, which was born out of the London 2012 Olympic Games Legacy, is a pathway that aims to empower and inspire young people to become leaders through sport and to encourage their peers to take part in more sport. There are more than 2,800 Young Ambassadors across Wales, all of whom are the voice for PE and School Sport in their schools and communities and who promote the positive value of sport.
There are different pathway levels within the programme, including Silver and Gold for secondary and college students, and Platinum for advanced individuals. To engage younger pupils Sport Cardiff has now launched the Bronze Young Ambassadors programme for primary school pupils.
Sport Cardiff will be rolling out new Young Ambassador training courses, starting with a gold award in April followed by a silver award in June and a bronze award in November. Interested schools are encouraged to contact their local Sport Cardiff officer to find out more about getting involved.
Sport Cardiff is a Joint Venture Agreement between Cardiff Metropolitan University and City of Cardiff Council. Sport Cardiff's mission is to enrich the lives of the people of Cardiff by delivering a range of quality sporting opportunities.
The agreement has been backed by Sport Wales and provides timely boost to the resources available to develop sport in the Welsh capital.
For more information about the Young Ambassadors programme, please visit: http://www.clubsolutions.wales/Young-Ambassadors/