Archery GB Club Ambassador Helen Sharpe is rightly proud of her Young Ambassador son, Jack, whose disability does not hold him back from volunteering in archery.
Helen said: "My son Jack has right temporal lobe epilepsy and as a result has six different seizure types. He started shooting in the summer of 2015 and became a Young Ambassador in March 2019. He had been volunteering often at beginners' courses, have-a-go and community events at the club for a couple of years before that.
"Jack's confidence has grown tremendously within the sport, but volunteering and especially the Young Ambassador role has seen him come out of his shell a lot. He enjoys sharing his sport with people who have never tried it and also enjoys chatting with existing archers to find out what they may want out of the sport but may not know where to start.
"He especially enjoyed the surprise on his teachers' faces when they were all advised to look for volunteering roles and he had come back with a role within his sport. I believe the quote was 'Well played Jack, well played!'
"As well as helping with a number of beginners' courses at the club, Jack has also more recently assisted at Aim4Sport. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others. He has also found that both adults and juniors who seem a little shy tend to open up more quickly with him than perhaps some of the adult coaches.
"Jack is waiting to be old enough to take his first coaching course as it's something he would particularly like to develop. He does enjoy seeing people's surprise when, by the end of their course, they have achieved more than they expected, and especially if they then join the sport to continue that journey.
[caption id="attachment_24225" align="alignnone" width="243"] Jack Sharpe joined the Archery GB Young Ambassador programme in 2019[/caption]
"In 2014, doctors changed the diagnosis for the type of epilepsy Jack has, which meant that while he had been carefully managed, he was moved on to a lifetime of serious medication. He had been involved in team sports until then but the medication adds a number of issues to coordination and increased injury risk. He felt a move to individual sport would be better, as his health would then only impact him and not a team performance.
"I think anyone close to Jack would agree that at that time he withdrew from the world for a while and his confidence fell. Archery has given him all of that back and more. He has achieved lots of things and been lucky enough to have an amazing coaching team behind him, including a physio.
"Jack says the biggest thing the sport has given him is the ability to be himself, supported by others. He has never worried that his health has negatively impacted his inclusion in the sport. He is surprised at where volunteering has led him: for example, to the World Transplant Games, and he is grateful for the people that archery has brought into his life. He thinks it's a very rewarding thing to give to others and see them achieve more than they thought possible. But, also for young people, the backing of AGB gives you that added confidence to go out there and represent the sport. He has used it towards several aspects of his school baccalaureate and it is something he can use on his CV as he approaches the age of looking for a small part-time job.
"So while Jack gives his time, he receives reward in return."
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