In early March, as part of the ongoing YHA/British Triathlon partnership, YHA Keswick hosted a Young Person Tri Activator course. The course was attended by a group of young people from the Keswick Triathlon Club, who were joined by Nicky Proctor, a British Triathlon Activator course tutor.
A few parents also took part and supported the participants as they trained. The partnership keenly reflects YHA’s charitable purpose as spelt out by its Theory of Change. Specifically, the belief that all young people stand to gain the most from travel and real adventure related experiences, including benefits to their physical, mental wellbeing/health and life skills, helping them to develop, progress and achieve greater life satisfaction as a result.
YHA/British Triathlon – Purpose of Partnership
The focus of the YHA and British Triathlon partnership is twofold. Firstly, to inspire people of all ages and abilities, from all backgrounds, to try and or have a triathlon experience. Secondly, to provide all participants from those starting out, through to seasoned athletes, as well as support staff, with an environment that supports and develops their triathlon experience.
Focus of Tri Activator Training
The one day Activator training is aimed at helping participants develop skills, particularly those relating to leading triathlon related activities and fostering ambassadorship for the sport. The responsibilities of the latter part, involve promoting triathlon and encouraging others to join in, with hostelBritish Triathlons GO TRI initiative, providing an opportunity for all beginners, to have a go.
‘I wanted to join in and improve my self-confidence and communication skills’
For the young participants, there was more behind their motivations in signing up for the course, beyond just developing leadership skills and becoming an advocate for the sport. For example, Tom said, ‘I wanted to join in and improve my self-confidence and communication skills’. Another, Emily wanted to gain new tactics to help her become an effective activities facilitator.
At the end of their training the six young people who participated confirmed that the British Triathlon run course had been worthwhile, with many positive outcomes for them, including;
- Increase in their confidence to lead activities.
- Acquisition of new knowledge, ability to deliver risk assessed activities.
- A keener appreciation of personal traits such as patience, approachability, being organised, creativity and of being encouraging when leading.
- Improved ability to communicate and keep participants engaged.
- Felt positive after spending time outdoors taking part in physical activity.
- Gained their Activator certificate, confirming their qualification to lead triathlon related activities within their clubs and or wider communities.
In respect of their future plans, all the young people interviewed exhibited high aspiration.
They could connect their training with future ambitions, especially the link between their newly acquired and or improved skills, to their career development. One said, ‘I would like to do something working overseas – like with refugees…problem solving and the confidence and skills I learnt will help me with that’.
Another pointed out that she wanted to pursue a career in theatre and drama and felt that her experiences were useful good practice in leading people to undertake activities.
The young people and the members of the Keswick Triathlon club present, confirmed their appreciation of the YHA hostel facilities, noting that the hostel was a welcoming and ideal as a training facility. One of the Keswick Triathlon Club coaches, who supported the training, underlined the value of YHA hostels and the conveniences they offered as a meeting and or training venue. He said, ‘YHA Hostels are great’.
From the British Triathlon perspective, one of the outcomes was increased participation in triathlon focused training by young people. In addition, British Triathlon and YHA successfully facilitated the skills development of young people.
Up until the first week of March 2018, 185 British Triathlon Activators had been trained across the three types of TRI Activator courses; Community, Open Water and Young Person had been trained. In terms of participation by gender, there is currently a 50/50 split (male/female).
For YHA, the training provided an opportunity to increase brand exposure.
Both Nicky, the course trainer and 3 other parents who supported the Keswick course participants noted various positive changes and impact on their life skills. Life skills describe a set of basic skills acquired through learning and or direct life experience that enable individuals and groups to effectively handle issues and problems commonly encountered in daily life.
Through participant group activity notes, most participants indicated gains in their life skills as a result of the course. These included improvements in presentation skills and the ability to influence others.