This year for the Youth Sport Trust’s annual National Talent Camp, I applied and got in as a Young Mentor representing British Cycling. Now this was different from last year, when I went as a Young Coach which was basically a participant…

This year I had much more responsibility and influence as I was in a higher position, if you like. Upon arrival (which was a day before everyone else), I found that I was very excited about the prospect of being a young mentor for the next few days and meeting some amazing and inspiring people, some of whom I was already getting to know. The previous year I had had a great experience as a Young Coach, but as I said I knew this was going to be very different.

When we (all the Young Mentors) had our first briefing, I already had a better insight into the higher roles of an event like this and along with that a better idea of what the next few days would hold, as well as having made some good friends already. With the first day of training and prep for the event over within an instant, I was ready to embrace Talent Camp!

So from registration when everyone started filing in and I began to recognise people up until after the closing ceremony where everyone was sad to go their separate ways with all the good friends that had been made, I would say I had a valuable experience and learnt quite a lot. This period of time had many highlights, including Tim Buckle’s chimp management session, engaging group sessions, a thought provoking NGB session, and major talks and discussions that put real life situations such as the deflate gate into perspective for coaches, athletes and officials all at once. The actual content and the atmosphere was all really useful and informative, but there was also a lot more to it that made it such a valuable weekend.

The Loughborough University campus was great (and massive!), the accommodation was really nice and hospitable, and one thing I got to appreciate more as a Mentor was that the whole thing was really well organised and the vibe was just right. As I said earlier, my experience this year was very different from last year as I was a Mentor, so not only did I have a position of influence (even though I was one of the youngest people there!), but I also got to actually understand and appreciate the effort that actually goes into running Talent Camp and the passion that comes with it.

To conclude, I would say that if you can and you haven’t been before, definitely give NTC a go! It is an invaluable experience where you will learn life skills, be inspired, and meet some amazing people. If you have been before, I would 100% re-apply as a mentor. Initially I was a bit sceptical about applying to be a mentor, but in retrospect it was definitely a no-brainer and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on it – being a participant is great, but trust me: being a mentor is 100 times better! All in all, a great experience!