Erin Stewart

Young Ambassadors is one of sportscotland’s flagship leadership programmes for young people and Erin Stewart was a member of the 2022 Young Ambassador Conference Delivery Team. Erin was also awarded the Glasgow Young Volunteer of the Year 2022 Award.

We caught up with her to hear more about her volunteering journey and her advice for others thinking about volunteering in the future.

What was your experience of sport growing up?

I was always encouraged to participate in sport from a young age, my early memories of sport are my mum throwing sponge balls for me to hit back with a tennis racket in the garden. I went to a variety of sports activities growing up, but football was my favourite and I continued to play as I grew up. I played for Glasgow City FC who were a local club run by women for women. As I got older my love for football grew, I progressed through the youth academy at Glasgow City going from u9s to u17s. Despite football being my main sport growing up I enjoyed most sports such as netball, badminton and volleyball… I was never a dancer or a gymnast though!

What is your volunteering experience to date?

At Hillpark Secondary school I was always really involved in the PE dept, spending most of my time there. The teachers were inspirational. At the start of 4th year, I was selected to become a Young Ambassador. This led to me gaining experience running whole school events, taking lunchtime and afterschool clubs and co teaching classes. I got opportunities to work closely with our Active Schools Coordinator and volunteered to coach netball, football, help at cross country and learn about disability sports working in our feeder primary schools. I helped at all the primary transition days too. Things like this led to be being a part of the sportscotland YA delivery team. Where I got to spend 2 days at Inverclyde and had the opportunity to present at conferences across Scotland, hopefully passing on my experiences to future YA’s.

As I said above, I spent 9 years at Glasgow City before moving on to another club, but I loved City and the club had a strong set of values, empowering young girls in sport. When I left to play at another club, I wanted to give something back to the club as it has been such a big part of my life, so I started to coach the u10s team and the mini kickers.

What inspired you to get into volunteering?

I have always been passionate about sport, physical activity and people. Growing up I have had a positive sporting experience and I understand the benefits which sport brings to people.  I hope that through volunteering I can allow others to have the same experience in sport which I had. When growing up I also was lucky to have positive female role models who I could look up to, however there is still a lack of female role models in coaching so through volunteering I hope to be a positive figure and support young girls throughout their sporting journeys. I also hope for a future career as a PE teacher so volunteering allowed me a greater insight and to gain experience in this field.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering? 

Seeing young people, especially girls being active and enjoying sport. Being able to create and build relationships with young people and getting to know them on a personal level and hopefully helping them develop in sport and physical activity but also as people.  Volunteering both in and outside school meant I could work closely with Active Schools and help young girls make that jump between playing at school and moving to club to have fun and improve their skills and performances so they can stay active beyond their teenage years – when many girls drop out of sport.

Have you had to overcome any challenges or barriers whilst volunteering?

Not especially, I have been lucky in having so many opportunities to volunteer and be involved in sport.  Football and especially football coaching was still seen as a boys or men’s thing when I started playing to some extent but that has improved hugely. Covid brought challenges to staying active and running clubs for others.

What advice would you give to others looking to get involved in volunteering?

Find something which you are truly passionate and care about as this will make the commitment to volunteer so much easier as you are motivated. Throughout your experience you will get lots of opportunities, say ‘yes’ to all these opportunities as they will allow you to gain more experience and will open more doors for you to grow as a volunteer but also as a person.


Date published: 14 July 2023
Date updated: 14 July 2023


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