The countdown to the inaugural Aberdeen Youth Games began this week with the start of a baton relay which promises to inspire hundreds of primary school pupils across the city.
The official Aberdeen Youth Games Baton, which was designed by eleven-year-old Braehead School pupil Reece Carson, was unveiled on Tuesday, April 22 at Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Garthdee campus.
Reece won a design competition earlier this year which attracted more than a dozen entries from participating schools. A total of 10 shortlisted pupils were invited to Gray’s School of Art to take part in a 3D modelling workshop.
There they created batons out of recycled and upcycled materials based upon their designs for a panel of judges to choose the overall winner, assisted by Gray’s students and staff.
Third year 3D design student Louise Robinson produced Reece’s winning baton at Gray’s School of Art with support from the 3D Design technical staff.
The Aberdeen Youth Games logo has been laser cut in to the baton which is made of anodised aluminium, acrylic and leather, measures 40cm long and is 5cm in diameter at its widest point.
The baton party included Louise Robinson, RGU Sport Scholar Rebecca Bee, who recently secured her place in Team Scotland’s Rhythmic Gymnastics team for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Sport and Exercise Science students from RGU and also project partners from across the university and Sport Aberdeen.
The baton, which contains an inspirational message from Aberdeen Youth Games Ambassador and Olympic rowing champion Dr Katherine Grainger CBE, will travel across the city over the next three weeks and visit all 36 participating primary schools.
The relay will conclude on Friday, May 16 at Aberdeen Sports Village where more than 1,000 pupils will gather for the award-winning project’s Commonwealth Games themed Festival of Sport.
Lenny Smith, Head of Design at Gray’s School of Art, helped to co-ordinate the modelling workshop for pupils and oversaw the production of the baton.
He said: “This has been a terrific collaborative design project to work on and has given us an opportunity to showcase the creative skills we nurture and develop at Gray’s.
“Reece came up with a fantastic model based on his original design and Louise and the team have developed it to produce an impressive, durable baton which we hope will inspire pupils involved in the project for years to come.”
The Aberdeen Youth Games, which has been organised by RGU’s Sport and Exercise Science team and Sport Aberdeen, recently won the Gold Sporting Contribution Award at the Game Changer Awards.
The project aims to motivate primary school pupils to lead healthy and active lives, and develop their global citizenship, through celebrating the sport and culture of the Commonwealth.
Bryan McCann, lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at RGU, leads the project and is looking forward to the Festival of Sport next month.
He said: “We are delighted to unveil the Aberdeen Youth Games baton and I would like to congratulate Reece on his fantastic winning design. The team at Gray’s School of Art who have produced the baton have also done a tremendous job and I’m sure pupils across the city will be inspired by it throughout the relay.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to Aberdeen Sports Village for the Festival of Sport. Excitement is building around the city about the festival, and the baton relay is sure to add to that. It’s going to be a great day which we hope will inspire the next generation of young people in Aberdeen to pick up new sports and be able to enjoy them into the future.”
As part of the build up to the Aberdeen Youth Games more than 30 second year BSc (Hons) Applied Sports and Exercise Science students from RGU received training in netball, badminton and athletics coaching, and will deliver these sports to pupils as part of their work placements through Sport Aberdeen this semester.
Graeme Dale, Senior Development Manager, Active Schools at Sport Aberdeen, said: “We’re proud to be working in partnership with Robert Gordon University to deliver the Aberdeen Youth Games which is a unique and exciting project to be involved in.
“We will be working closely with the students throughout their placements this term to deliver sports training to pupils so they are prepared for the Festival of Sport and also build upon our Active Schools programme across Aberdeen.”
Alongside the sports coaching sessions at school, pupils will also learn about the Commonwealth and develop their global citizenship through education activities and the completion of Commonwealth themed ‘Inspire>Aspire’ posters.
At the Festival of Sport, pupils will take part in skills-based competitions for badminton, netball and athletics, and have the opportunity to receive tasters in hockey, table tennis and rugby.
Demonstrations of other sports such as squash, weightlifting and cycling, will also be given on the day, along with a number of other exciting activities.
Leading north-east businessman, and Aberdeen Youth Games Ambassador, Sir Ian Wood will join Katherine Grainger at the Festival of Sport to cheer on the pupils who are taking part and play a role in the opening ceremony.
He will talk to pupils about global citizenship, judge the ‘Inspire>Aspire’ posters and be involved in other activities on the day. Sir Ian will also advise organisers on how to increase the scope of the project for the future.