On Saturday April 2, over 50 Young Rugby Ambassadors (YRAs) gathered at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for the first ever YRA Leadership Conference.
The YRA Leadership Conference was created to give young volunteers the chance to learn more about the YRA programme, get to know other YRAs from around the country and develop their skills as future leaders in rugby.
Click here to view a video of the event.
The day kicked off with Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, talking about the pivotal role YRAs and volunteers play in growing the grassroots game.
Steve Grainger said, “Today’s YRA Leadership Conference has given young volunteers from across the country the chance to share their ideas on promoting rugby and ways to engage more people of all ages and abilities. Seeing so many enthusiastic, talented and eager people in the room has given me confidence that we are creating a new generation of rugby leaders.”
Sammy Green from the rugby charity School of Hard Knocks, was keynote speaker on the day, inspiring attendees with his motivational and heartfelt story on how sport turned his life around, leading to his current involvement with the charity and as a full time rugby coach.
Sammy said “It’s been great to come here today and share my story with so many future leaders of the game. Rugby has a place for everyone and the different ideas and plans all the YRAs have come up with shows that there are so many opportunities for young people to get involved and make a change. I’m looking forward to seeing what they all get up to next!”
Three hour-long workshops took place throughout the day aimed at helping YRAs develop key skills to enable them to drive change and have an impact in their local rugby community.
The three workshops were run by the RFU, vInspired and Leadership Trust. vInspired, a leading youth social action charity who have partnered up with Young Rugby Ambassadors for its recent relaunch, ran a session asking volunteers to brainstorm, plan and pitch an event idea to the room. The RFU’s workshop focused on ambassadors getting to know their local rugby network and the Leadership Trust led a session on how to recognise their own qualities as a leader, influence others and affect change.
The sessions provided YRAs with an opportunity to gain insight into the wider rugby landscape across England, build on their networking skills with their peers and RFU colleagues and share ideas with one another.
Young Rugby Ambassador Rebecca Tweedy from Brighton said “I’ve learnt a lot today, it’s been thoroughly informative and I can’t wait to go and implement what I have learnt in my local area! I’ve learnt a lot about myself as a leader and about what the RFU does so I will take all my knowledge back to my local club to carry on giving something back to the game.”
As part of the conference the volunteers were encouraged to make their own personal pledges through the #iwill campaign, led by charity Step Up to Serve. The volunteers shared online posts noting what they aspire to achieve as young volunteers in order to drive engagement in rugby within their local community. Click here to see some of the YRA pledges on twitter.
Through partnering with vInspired, Young Rugby Ambassadors aged between 14 and 25 years old can now log their hours online and receive incentives and rewards for the time they have invested in developing rugby in their local community.
To incentive the Young Rugby Ambassadors to think of exciting ways to engage with their local community, vInspired have announced that they will offer funding support to six Young Rugby Ambassador projects. vInspired invites all Young Rugby Ambassadors across the country to submit a project idea for their local community, with the selected projects invited to apply for Sport England Cashpoint Funding to help make their project a reality. Further information on the funding is available here .
Report courtesy of England Rugby