Crocodiles, trees and elephants: media and presentation training for Young Champions in Scotland

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Speaking to the media and presenting to an audience is one part of the role of a Fostering Community Champions young champion. Project manager Sarah McEnhill provides an update on the Speaking Up and Speaking Out training.

It was a very windy and rainy Saturday June morning but our young champions (Sam, Amy, Cherise, Charlotte and Mairi) embraced the early start to travel from far and wide to meet up in Glasgow with Jane and Sarah from The Fostering Network. The purpose was to encourage us all to use our voice, be confident in standing up in front of a group and to begin to think about how we will share our fostering story with the media.

Breaking the ice

Using his theatre skills Gavin (from Active Inquiry) got us all warmed up with some exercises to get to know each other. He had us moving around, working in teams to form crocodiles, trees, elephants and re-enacting the Charlie’s Angels pose. At 10am on a Saturday morning it certainly broke the ice, got us laughing and most definitely woke us up! We were encouraged to mould each other into statues to depict speaking with passion and then remoulding us to capture more negative body language. It was a really useful exercise to help us begin to think about how we are viewed by others.

Some encouragement and exercises in voice projection allowed us to develop our confidence in making sure our voice is heard across the room – a skill our young champions hope to put into practice when they address larger, public audiences and speak about fostering. Each of the young champions was put on the spot and spoke out about a topic they felt strongly about, from the people who inspire them to activities they enjoy.

Playing the part

A key part of the session was to help prepare our young champions for potentially speaking to the media. Some mock scenarios put the participants on the spot and focussed them on getting their key messages across. Gavin played the role of roving reporter while Charlotte was the boss of an airline, Amy a pop star turned perfume designer, Sam an air guitar champion, Mairi was a lottery winner and Cherise was the lucky owner of the world’s best restaurant, all roles they played brilliantly!

With an increased awareness of speaking with the media, and some tips and tools to assist them each of our champions was then again interviewed by Gavin, this time focussing on their individual fostering stories, the key messages they each wanted to get across while ensuring that they only shared what they wanted to share.

After a hard day of training the group headed back into the City Centre for an early dinner and a chat about the next stages of the project before we all said goodbye!

It was a fantastic day with a great deal of enthusiasm from everyone. Huge thanks to Sam, Mairi, Cherise, Charlotte and Amy for their input as well as to Gavin for helping to make the day a success!

Fostering Community Champions, funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Investing in Communities programme, is an exciting four year project that aims to improve the outcomes of children in care by reducing the isolation experienced by many foster carers and helping young people to use their experience of foster care in a positive and meaningful way. Twelve young people from fostering households will take part in a range of activities to support foster carers, fostered young people and sons and daughters of foster carers in Scotland, including providing training and advice on contact and the use of social media; and 36 foster carers will be trained to provide peer support to foster carers throughout Scotland.