Year of the Young People 2018: Aidan and Molly
As Head Boy and Girl of Wallace High School, Aidan Kemp and Molly Williams have already achieved a lot in life – a large part of which they credit to the Scottish FA’s School of Football programme.
Funded by Cashback for Communities – a unique initiative that uses money seized from criminals across Scotland to fund opportunities for physical activity – the School of Football programme is aimed at developing the social and academic skills of young people during their first two years of high school.
Pupils are offered regular football coaching from an accredited Scottish FA coach in order to develop skills in a football environment that are transferable to school work and social situations.
Aidan and Molly’s participation in the School of Football programme saw them coached by former Scotland international Jimmy Bone and their experience was crucial in moulding them into the student leaders they are today as Head Boy and Head Girl of their school.
Aidan says that the School of Football programme has had a profound effect on the pair: “It is clear to see that the School of Football programme provided us with time management skills, respect, football knowledge and football session knowledge that has allowed us to progress into the people we are today.
“We were lucky to have been given the opportunity and to have the experience. Having our confidence grow over the years has helped with any speeches we’ve had to take on.
“Looking back now it’s clear to see that even the smallest things such as a handshake has given me a level of maturity that can’t be taught.”
Molly is in full agreement about the wealth of benefits the School of Football programme offers: “It also helped us break down stigma around gender sports within the school and community because during our year we had three girls take part and we all got treated equally.
“We would both urge any pupil if they can to trial for school if football – it’s an experience we’ll remember forever and always be grateful for.
“It provided us with some many life skills and attributes that have shaped us into the people we are and helped with so many unrelated things to football – it isn’t only just about the football, but the mind-set behind it.”
Andrew Gould, Head of Football Development at the Scottish FA, said: “It is heart-warming to see the effect that the School of Football programme can have on the lives of its participants and Aidan and Molly’s success as a result of the programme is a fantastic example of this.
“Thanks to funding from Cashback for Communities, the School of Football programme uses regular football as a basis to develop life skills in young people – skills such as teamwork, discipline and leadership that are so important to succeeding in life.”
Minister for Public Health and Sport Aileen Campbell said: “I’m a football fan and firmly believe that our national game can be a powerful force for good.
“It can inspire people of all ages and from all backgrounds to get active and stay active, which has a positive effect on both physical and mental health and improves education outcomes for young people.
“While often the focus is on performance or the professional game, I am also aware of the excellent work the Scottish FA is undertaking on participation, and encouraging people to fulfil their potential.
“I saw that first-hand when I visited Pollok United with the UEFA President recently. That was truly inspirational.
“And the testimony of Aidan and Molly further highlights the positive impact football can have, particularly on young people.”
For more information on Year of the Young People 2018, visit http://yoyp2018.scot/