Young Ambassador adds polish to volunteering role

With this week marking a year to go until the London 2012 Olympic Games, Sport Wales highlights the volunteering work of Young Ambassador - Maciej Szukala - who is using the Olympic and Paralympic values to help young people get hooked on sport for life.

Maciej Szukala, 17, is no ordinary young man. Having moved to Wrexham from his native Poland in 2005, Maciej overcame the language barrier by leaping headlong into volunteering.

News-Latest-MaciejA brief look at his impressive CV suggests that he feels most at home when he's helping others. The former Rhosnesni High School Deputy Head Boy and West Cheshire College Student Governor has picked up countless 'Young Volunteer' awards from Rotary International, the British Red Cross and even a Diana Award for outstanding community work. All that whilst juggling full-time work as a Polish translator.

Now, the sporty youngster - who plays basketball for the 'Glyndŵr Nets' and Welsh Development Squad - has teamed up with Sport Wales to volunteer his time as a Gold Young Ambassador in Wrexham. The Young Ambassador movement in Wales is coordinated by Sport Wales who work in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, adidas and LOCOG. 
Born out of the Singapore Promise, there are Young Ambassadors in every local authority in Wales who are increasing participation in school sport and PE and promoting healthy and active lifestyles. They are also responsible for promoting London 2012 and spreading the word of the Olympic and Paralympic values - respect, friendship, personal excellence, courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

Maciej said: "The thing I enjoy most about volunteering is helping people to get the best out of themselves. Working as a Young Ambassador, and being part of the UK and Wales steering groups, is fantastic because it gives me, and other young people, a voice about what we want from sport.

News-Latest-YoungAmbassadors"A year to go until London 2012 is a really important step and I'm doing all I can to help Sport Wales to highlight the importance of having the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As Young Ambassadors we're working really hard to use the excitement of London 2012 to get other young people excited about sport. But we also want to carry on getting them hooked on sport for life long after the Games have finished."

After years of anticipation, since London won the bid to host the Olympic Games way back in 2005, the waiting is nearly over.

Monday 25 July marked exactly a year to go until the first event of London 2012 kicks off with the women's football at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium and Wednesday 27 July coincided with the Opening Ceremony at Olympic Park.

Britain's first Olympic Games since 1948 has already begun to capture the nation's imagination and Sport Wales is hoping that the legacy of that excitement will inspire more people, especially youngsters, to take part in sport.

Sport Wales Regional Manager for North Wales, Graham Williams, said: "Maciej is a really inspirational young volunteer. He's doing a great job of inspiring similar young people in Wrexham to give sport a go and hopefully get hooked on sport for life.

"We need to harness the excitement of having a home Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the enthusiasm and passion of young sports volunteers like Maciej, to highlight the great many benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle in our efforts to unite a proud sporting nation here in Wales."