This past weekend, my mentee and I attended the third SAYes Key Transition Outcome (KTO) workshop which focused on the domain, Sport & Recreation.
I think young people often assume that if they aren’t star runners or great at handling a soccer ball, then they shouldn’t waste their time on sport and recreation. The first part of the two‑hour session was devoted to changing that perception by showing the youth different types of physical activities that could bring them pleasure and joy.
First, we heard from Deon Scheppel, a representative from Virgin Active, who spoke to us about the job opportunities that Virgin Active offers for young adults interested in becoming personal trainers or leading group fitness classes. He explained that for the right candidate who has an interest in fitness, health and instruction, these positions are always available.
Then Deon asked us to get into a large circle so he could show us some exercises that the young people could do at home without any equipment. By using a pack of cards and assigning different movements to each suit, we learned how to do a quick and efficient workout. I think it was key that Deon showed everyone different ways to get their heart rate pumping without having to sprint or swim. It was also interesting to see how many adults immediately excused themselves from taking part, and how many young people did the same. Exercise can be a very personal experience, and finding something that works for each of us is important. I encourage mentors and mentees to explore, explore, explore.
The next presenter, Katharine Price, demonstrated some simple yet effective breathing exercises and yoga stretches. She focused on the calming effect that yoga and breathing can have. She also pointed out how the energy in the room changed when we began practicing some of the moves. Of course, there was also a lot of laughter.
The techniques she showed us are particularly useful during times of high stress and anxiety – think, exam time!
In the second half of the session, we took a closer look at the things we enjoy doing and why we enjoy them. This gave some of the young people the chance to voice the things they enjoy that aren’t necessarily physically challenging activities like drawing, cooking and chess. I think it brought another dimension to the workshop and allowed some of the young people who hadn’t taken part in the earlier segments a chance to feel included. The take‑home was that connecting, expressing and belonging are important feelings, and we can recognise how sport and recreation help us to feel those things.
Thanks for reading,