Pupils at Chirnside Primary School have been working with former international swimming star Euan Dale as part of the Champions in Schools programme.
Last Tuesday at Duns Pool Euan offered pupils guidance on life and lifestyle as part of the fun-filled role-model programme which uses the positive influence of sport to help develop young people physically and mentally.
He said: “In my sporting and personal life, I always set goals, monitor my lifestyle and maintain a positive mentality – and it has consistently helped me to achieve my ambitions.”
“It is essential for every young person to follow their dreams, but the way to go about that is by setting small, gradual targets and ticking them off one by one.
“That’s the lesson that I am passing onto the pupils – to aim big but start small – whether it’s about achieving a desired grade at school, making your local sports team or just trying to eat more healthily.”
Euan, who won two silver medals at the 2006 Commonwelath Games, is among seven Scottish role models from sports, including hockey, athletics, rugby, judo, swimming and football, who are each making three separate visits to a Borders school during the 2010-2011 academic year.
Each athlete builds a rapport with a targeted group of 20-30 pupils, discussing the importance of goal-setting, hard-work, diet and physical activity, and sharing a belief that the adoption of a positive winning attitude offers long-term benefits on and off the sports field.
The pilot programme, created by business-led charity Winning Scotland Foundation and supported by Quality Meat Scotland, has been running in the Scottish Borders for two years. So far over 2,000 pupils have participated in the programme which operates in six local authorities across Scotland.
Champions in Schools was founded by two former elite athletes – Commonwealth gold medal winning rifle shooter Susan Jackson and former Scotland rugby captain and current national team attack coach Gregor Townsend.
Susan Jackson, who is the senior director of Winning Scotland Foundation, said: “This programme is offering young people the chance to learn about life at the top from a world-class sportsperson – but more importantly they can take on board and begin to apply some of the key lessons that have helped the athlete become so successful. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Scotland’s school children.”
Graeme Murdoch, active schools manager for Scottish Borders Council, added: “Sport is a fantastic vehicle which can open up new opportunities and learning experiences to young people whilst driving home important health messages. Champions in Schools clearly fits this bill and Active Schools are delighted to be involved in running the programme again this year.”
Athletes visiting schools in the Borders include John Collins (football), Janet Jack (hockey), Sarah Clark (judo), Libby Clegg (athletics), Ross Ford and Chris Paterson (rugby).