Teen Sportsters Head to Paralympics

Active schools with support from Edinburgh Leisure are taking a group of 16 young people from Edinburgh Schools to volunteer as Young Games Makers at the Paralympics in London from 24 August to 9 September 2012.

The Young Games Makers will be performing the prestigious role of Courtside Assistants at the Sitting Volleyball event in the Excel arena for the duration of the games

The S5 and S6 pupils from 10 schools across Edinburgh attended an interview at the LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) headquarters in December last year and were selected as the only group of volunteers to represent Scotland, in a group of over 2000 Young Games Makers.

The individuals were selected from a team of 50 Young Ambassadors for sport, who take on the voluntary role in their secondary schools and are mentored by Children and Families staff. The role of a Young Ambassador involves increasing participation in sport, promoting active and healthy lifestyles and spreading the word of the Olympic and Paralympic values, through assemblies and sports events.  Young Ambassadors have a pivotal role within their school and wider community acting as advocates, role models and leaders for other young people.

The team have been working extremely hard to raise funds through raffles, sponsorship, fundraising nights and bike rides.  They have managed to reach their target of a minimum of £1000 per pupil to cover the costs.

Sean McPhee, a 6th year pupil from Firrhill High School, is one of the Young Games Makers heading to London, he said: "This is a once in a life time opportunity as the Games are on home soil.  It is also a fantastic leadership experience which we hope we can share with our own schools to inspire other young people to get involved as voluntary young leaders too. I can't wait to get down there."

Tommy George, Young People & Communities Team Manager at Edinburgh Leisure said: "The kids are super excited about this, we've been all working together to do the fundraising.  We would like to thank the "People Making Waves - Wave of Friendship" programme, who gave the group a great boost of a bursary of £10,000 to help us to cover the cost of the trip. We're very excited and looking forward to heading off on Friday."

Councillor Paul Godzik, Children and Families Convener said: "This trip is the result of a lot of hard work on behalf of the children, their parents and the Group Leaders.  I'd like to wish them all the best of luck and I'll be looking forward to hearing how they get on in London. Everyone is so impressed by what the Olympics has delivered I imagine the Paralympics will only accentuate this further; this truly is a fantastic opportunity for our young people."

The pupils from 10 schools across the city will be working 8 out of 10 days and have the opportunity to view other competitions at the games and do some sight-seeing on their days off.

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