After four packed days of information-sharing, team-building and cultural activities, the Young Ambassadors (YAs) returned home with a new sense of purpose, pledging to spread the YOG spirit in their communities, while preparing their athletes to “Compete, Learn and Share” this summer.
During the seminar, the YAs tried, tested and gave feedback on the activities that will be on offer to the athletes at Games time, visiting the Ming City wall, taking part in workshops on career planning, ethics and managing your time, and having a go at outdoor team-building activities in the Laoshan National Forest Park.
This Culture and Education Programme is unique to the YOG and aims to educate young athletes on different cultures and on matters like doping, nutrition and global issues.
“The most important thing for me was the career workshop,” Lebanon’s Tony Tarraf said. “If you want to reach your goals you should start with a good base. Young athletes are starting from zero so you can help put them on the right track.”
Citing the team-building activities at the Laoshan National Park as a personal highlight of the week, Kandiwapa Aron of Namibia said: “Amazing. We had so much fun, it brought us together. It was teamwork, it’s not about who loses, who wins.” Tarraf added: “It really makes athletes learn the importance of working together as a team and to reach their goals. Working as individuals will not help reach certain goals.”
With less than five months to go until the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, the YAs praised the organisation and impact of the seminar. “At first before coming here I was worried having 104 Young Ambassadors would be confusing and the activities would be a little crowded and we would not be able to experience it well, but dividing us into groups was perfect,” Republic of Korea’s Kim Da Hye said. “And I really appreciate the volunteers because they did their best. I could see how much they’re working hard and how much they cared for us.”
For Aron, the seminar delivered and she is ready to work. “The atmosphere was amazing, just the togetherness and the friendliness. I had so much to learn and I feel I can now take everything – the games, the activities, the enthusiasm – to my country and share it with my athletes.”
Philippe Furrer, IOC Head of CEP and Creative Services, summed up the week in his closing address to the Young Ambassadors, saying: “We have empowered you to inspire your athletes to compete, learn and share this summer. Now it’s over to you. Will you rock the YOG?” The answer was a resounding “Yes!”
Watch this space for more news on the Young Ambassadors coming soon. For the full list, visit here.