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A day at Eighth Wonder

Player at Gravesham girls and ladies fc

My day started at 8:30 in the morning to get ready for a day at Aylesford for a program called Eighth wonder.

Eighth wonder is for girls between 14-20 years old who is into or already into playing or helping in a football job.

The aim for the day was to get more girls/ ladies in a job in football also it trying to stop people saying girls/ladies can’t play football and it is just for boys.

The day started at 9:30am to get signed in then at 10:00 till 10:15 we had a talk with the founder of Eighth wonder programme, Charlotte Richardson, who talked about the aim of the day and the reason she had organised this. After the talk we did a activity to get to know the people who was at the Eighth wonder, we played human bingo, this is when you have a sheet with things and you have to ask people around seeing who has done things on the sheet but you only allowed to get them to sign off one of the boxes and when you complete all the boxes you shout bingo.

Then after the fun we did a session on confidence and Self-Esteem which was run by Chelsea Simpson and another one learning how to overcome barriers which was run by an organization called West Kent Mind. These were fun sessions and used interesting interactive games and ideas. Then we had a talk from a Gillingham ladies’ player called Emma Tune who talked to us about how she got into football. We had a special speaker, Charlotte Evans , who was Britain’s first Winter Paralympics gold medallist who came to talk to us about her life and how she had got into sport. She also explained to us how she had overcome setbacks in her life to still achieve success. Then it was finally lunch time.

After 45 minutes we were split into five different group for the afternoon and then we did activities which were:

Personal Training and Sports Science - run by Rob Horswell - learning ways to prevent players picking up injuries and of treating injuries when they occur as well as ways of keeping fit.

Marketing and Communication- run by Charlotte Richardson & Amy Rutland (Kent FA Marketing & Communication Officer) - learning ways to get the message out to both males and females that girls and ladies football is a fun activity to get involved with at a young age and to follow either as a leisure activity or as a career, and indeed to watch.

Development - Run by Hayley Bennett (Kick It Out’s Communication Officer) - learning ways to grow the game and to remove prejudices from the game. Learning the need to treat everyone - from officials to fellow players - with respect.

Administration - run by Kelly Discipline (Kent FA Board Director & Ryman League Secretary) - learning about the paperwork and organisation that is required to run a club/ league

These 4 sessions were classroom based but were taught to us in a fun & interesting way by each of the leaders.

Coaching - Run by Natalie Curtis & Louise Arnold (Kent Sport Coaching Lead) - We went outside and did a lot of running around, learning fun ways to teach younger girls the basic skills needed for football, Natalie & Louise were helped by Alena Moulton, who works for Derby County Ladies.

After all of that we had a panel with all different people asking them questions. After that we had the gift from them to say thank you then we had a party. After that it was time to say goodbye and go home.

The day helped me with my confidence and positivity for my mind and how I can get into a football job. I also made lots of new friends who I might play with one day as well as making contacts which may help me in the future.

This day is really only the start of my journey though as I have now joined the Football Futures programme which rewards me for any volunteering I do within football and I now have a mentor, Natalie Curtis, to assist me with my development going forward. I am looking forward to learning further skills in the future with Natalie’s help - such as refereeing and coaching.

I would highly recommend the day/ programme to any other girls who are interested in adding to their CV and understanding opportunities available to them.