This summer I was fortunate enough to attend the FA national leadership academy, a four day residential held at St. George's Park.
Every year each county nominates a young leader to attend with the aim to return to their county’s youth council and make a positive impact.
During the four days we took part in many workshops covering topics such as developing a personal leadership philosophy, effective communication (shown through a media workshop) and how to develop our network.
A graduation ceremony was held on the Tuesday afternoon during which last year’s cohort returned, for me the highlight of this was listening to the stories and experiences of the graduates. Seeing how much can be achieved within a year when the right mind-set is applied. These are stories which will inspire and drive me for the foreseeable future.
All of the workshops we had taken part in were put into practice on the third day when we attended Fieri leadership; a programme ran by predominantly ex-military personnel, with a focus on team building and problem solving. We were given the (almost) impossible task of completing five challenges, each testing a different characteristic of our personality.
However frustrating some of these tasks may have been, we all used the resilience developed to persevere and complete the day. This gave us an idea of how the skills we had been developing can be applied to practical situations back in our local counties. The highlight of my experience at Fieri was joining Sandy's Ninja club!
On the Wednesday evening the national youth council along with mentors and FA staff put together a UV party complete with UV table tennis and pool. This was a great chance to speak to people from all over the country and became a real turning point for many. After being a part of a very intense three days it was nice to have some down time in an environment such as this.
This experience has been invaluable in developing me as a leader and overall as a person and I would strongly encourage anybody who is offered this opportunity to take it with both hands. This experience has really opened my eyes to the opportunities which are out there; all you have to do is take them.
A massive thank you must go out to Derbyshire County FA for allowing me this opportunity, my mentor whilst at academy and the entire national youth council for providing this experience for us.
One thing which has stuck with me more than most is the idea that leadership is only a mind-set and not a position.
Trust the process.