An Eastern Adventure

Andy Barrow under the Shrewsbury International School sign

Apologies for the radio silence – I’ve had a lot to write about, but unfortunately, very little time in which to write it!

Towards the end of last year, I was busy writing reports and evaluations for my various projects as well as preparing content for 2016. My Athlete Inspiration Programme in the Royal Borough of Greenwich is now in its fourth year with my 3Cs Challenge in partnership with Chaucer Syndicates in its third.

I’m also involved with the pilot of a new “Young Leaders” project in partnership with Team London and the Mayor’s Office so I was glad when Christmas finally came around!

Once Christmas was over we jetted off to Thailand for two weeks – a holiday we’d been looking forward to very much as I’m sure you can imagine.

But I’d had a potential opportunity niggling in the back of my mind for while I was there, which I decided to explore.

A friend of ours, Fiona, teaches at an international school in Bangkok, so we thought I thought I’d take the opportunity and ask whether she or any other teachers there would be interested in me speaking to their pupils during our stay.

Fiona said she’d happily ask the department directors if they’d be keen. We were only in Bangkok for five days – with only two days available to visit the school – so I thought the chances of this happening would be slim.

However, we soon received a message back to say they’d love to have me and we managed to get it organised in two days!

The head of PE there, Ian Radcliffe, organised for me to speak to a group of about 60 pupils, ranging from about eight years old right through to 18. They were all part of the school’s Elite Sports Scholars who are all promising athletes.

He wanted me to tell my story before speaking about perseverance and overcoming challenges. Luckily talking about these topics are something in which I have a lot of practice, so only having two days to prepare didn’t faze as much as the new environment!

It was a fantastic experience at an excellent school. What I really loved is the fact that they made it happen, rather than dismiss the idea because of the short notice (adopting my favourite “say yes AND, not yes, BUT” analogies!)

I’ve been invited to return to the school in the summer and am really looking forward to connecting with more schools in Thailand. With childhood obesity is on the rise there, I’d really like to educate pupils and adults about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.

…and another trip to a tropical climate wouldn’t go amiss either!

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