As Kick London Staff, the thing we see more than anything is young people on journeys. Whether we are full time staff, teaching PE and guiding our mentees, or whether we are volunteer coaches leading academy sessions for an hour a week in the park, we see young people shaped, moulded and refined as we interact with them.
It is an incredible responsibility when you think about it. The way a young person views and interacts with the world can be influenced by you, and as you influence this one, you could in turn be influencing an entire future generation. As this blog is written, we at Kick London interact with 4,500 people under the age of 16 within school-time hours. 4,500 individual journeys. 4,500 lives that can be transformed by encouragement, positivity, role modelling and affirmation.
Not all journeys go to plan from the off. I am sure when a young man called Jamie Vardy played football in his back garden as an 8 year old, he imagined scoring goals against Germany for England. He probably didn’t envisage the trawl through non-league football via Fleetwood Town, a failed play-off attempt with Leicester in the Championship before working to the pinnacle of his career. A 20 year journey with many highs and lows. And thankfully, young Jamie’s journey is not yet over. Could a Premier League title and a European Championship winners medal be the next chapters in this journey?
As we work with young people, they will make mistakes. The number of mentees I have sat down with, repeating the same conversation about controlling feelings, empathising with staff and fellow pupils, maintaining motivation; it truly is uncountable. Sometimes, our journeys take a while. Sometimes our journeys can feel very repetitive. Oftentimes, we feel that we are seeing the same scenery. But it’s only when we look back that we see the path, and the times where our mistakes and heartaches developed our character. Some of the chapters may have been sad, but they make for an incredibly moving tale of triumph. Just ask Jamie Vardy!
When we look at the Bible, we see many journeys. We see men and women strive on through difficult times, but as they grow in character, they bring glory to God. I imagine that not every stone David slung at predators as a young man made contact. I imagine he lost a few sheep to the wolves! But through his journey, he was ready when it came down to the crunch.
Perhaps as you read this blog, you are a member of the Kick London family. Perhaps you are just curious about what we do. You may even be reading this blog as a young person who was once influenced by a Kick London coach in your school! However, in this life, we are players in everybody else’s journeys; journeys of faith, journeys of work, journeys of love and loss. Never under estimate the impact you may be having on someone as you journey with them in life. May we be inspired to journey positively with the younger generation, and be encouraged as we look at the journeys around us.
Andy Dutton – Sport Coach