Young grassroots Essex football volunteer Ciaran Whatley from Hawkwell Athletic FC is looking forward to 2018 with optimism having taken part in “one of the best weeks of my life” at the 2017 FA Leadership Academy (FALA) at St George’s Park.
The FA Leadership Academy enhances the collective capabilities of Young Leaders from around the country and develops a network of youth councils in-line with the joint organisational objectives of The FA. The participants took part in a variety of different workshops and events throughout four days and gained excellent experience and knowledge.
Rhys Elmer, Regional Engagement Officer for The FA’s Youth Council, himself a former member of the Essex County FA Football Futures Programme, delivered a speech at the start of the gathering in Burton-upon-Trent in July. Ciaran admitted to being nervous ahead of the event, but fulfilled afterwards, explaining: “When I arrived I was internally dreading it!”
“By nature, I’m a typically very introverted person who is much more comfortable alone than in big groups. This naturally made me dubious about the quote Rhys used during the Opening Ceremony: “We came in as individuals. And we’ll walk out together.” It was around the evening of the second day where I realised how accurate that quote actually was.”
“I’ve learnt things I’d never even thought about before, and met loads of amazing people. The workshop which stood out the most was one focused on Relationship Management because it explained why some people find it harder to work with others and how to more effectively work with others. That’s something I’ve always found somewhat difficult.”
“It was based around the idea that people fit onto a triangular spectrum, with the extremes as red, blue and green. Some people are a mix of two, and some are all three. Personally I fit into green, which is someone who has a methodical approach to tasks, has to have a plan in place before starting tasks and would prefer to work alone.”
“All the workshops had something to make them stand out. One defined the word ‘leader’ and how everybody can be a different kind of leader. It’s subjective to the task and the leader. I’ve come away from FALA with new knowledge and relationships which, I hope, last a very long time. I’m now much more comfortable with my role as a Young Leader.”
Find out more about the Football Futures Programme in Essex in the 'Volunteers' tab above. Information is also shared on Twitter by @EssexCountyFA and by searching for ‘EssexFootball’ on Facebook.