This is achieved though our ‘Football Futures Programme’ which is designed to mentor young volunteers and provide them with the skills and experience required to make a real difference.
Every year two members of Surrey County FA’s Football Futures Programme are selected to attend the National FA Football Futures Camp.
Josh Godfrey and Charlotte Cox were chosen out of 43 young people involved in the scheme aged between 14-19 to go to this year’s five day event, which was being held at The Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.
The five day course gives the opportunity for like-minded young people to come together and take part in football workshops, learn new skills and develop their leadership skills.
Charlotte kept a diary during her time at the camp and here is how she got on during her five days in Hereford....
Name: Charlotte Cox
Favourite Player: Michael Dawson (I even walked out with him when England played France U21 at White Hart Lane!)
After a three-hour journey I arrived at Hereford. Everyone from The FA was really friendly and helpful when I was checking in and I was given a goody bag consisting of lots of sports clothes and equipment .
After a few ice-breakers we began our first activity which was talking about The Respect Campaign, where we discussed which areas of the game that could be improved. We decided a big problem in football was over-enthusiastic parents in football which can take the fun out of playing.
The second day began bright and early at 7am as we had four workshops to complete! The first one was about refereeing and was held by Premier league official Michael Oliver.
We also had workshops that day on coaching and how to work with Under 11s, and the final session saw us learn how teams are run – looking at everything from the players to the managers as well as parents and physios.
An evening activity was organised at night during our stay and tonight’s was a quiz – which we lost!
The highlight of my third day at the National FA Youth camp was a demonstration given by blind footballer John Gribson. He was absolutely amazing. John would run at walls and stop only 10cm away from them, just using the echo off the wall.
I held my own workshop U11s in association with Surrey Police and intend to incorporate something like this into my presentation.
The other sessions that day covered media training and disability football. That evening’s activity was a really fun – we did our own version of the X-Factor with lots of singing and dancing.
My fourth day included information on becoming a Football Development Officer (FDO), which is what I would like to do when I’ve finished my education. An FDO helps to develop and raise awareness of the game in each county, and helps to run coaching and refereeing courses.
The evening activity this day was the best of the lot – a fancy dress disco, with the theme being ‘Superheroes.’ I went as RESPECT-REF (pictured), which saw me dress up in my referee’s kit with a red cape and mask, complete with oversize whistle and A4-sized red and yellow cards!
The whole week absolutely flew by and I was so sad when it came round to the last day. After breakfast we had a closing ceremony which included awards and speeches. It was really emotional for everybody – even some of the boys had tears when we parted ways - and I made loads of really nice friends at the camp. It was great to be with loads of like-minded people and we’re already planning a reunion.
I will never forget the Football Futures Camp – it really was a fantastic week!