George, age 19 from Stirling, and from the Young People's Sport Panel, shares his experience travelling around Scotland with the Queen's Baton Relay in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this summer.
The Baton spends over a year travelling around the Commonwealth countries in the lead-up to the games. I was amazed by how modern the Baton is, including a 360° Camera, heart rate monitor, LED lights and a message from the Queen herself, that won't be read until the opening ceremony!
The Relay began in the highlands from Inverness, a boat trip on Loch Ness and finishing the day in Oban. Day 2 was on the Isle of Arran which included 2 ferry trips and some stunning weather. Day 3 included Dumfries House, New Cumnock, Glasgow and Bo'ness. Day 4 was in the capital, Edinburgh, in which we concluded the day on top of Calton Hill with the Minister for Sport, Maree Todd. The Scotland Relay then finished on day 5 in the borders, visiting Peebles and Selkirk, to see the mill in which Team Scotland's tartan is made and finally Dumfries.
An opportunity like this not only educates you on how event planning works but develops your communication skills and ability to use your initiative in unfamiliar situations. Spotting an issue before it becomes one or offering a hand to someone in a pressurised situation.
I spent a lot of time with Colin Millar and Stuart Turner from Team Scotland who organised the whole 5-day leg and kept everything running smoothly. Along the way, we also met the Chair and CEO of Team Scotland, as well as many athletes and of course the inspiring baton bearers who had been nominated for the work they do in their communities.
We were also joined by a team from Commonwealth Games Birmingham who assisted with the journey and who we formed a really close bond with. Finally, 12 police officers from the West Midlands who had been specially selected to protect the Baton when travelling and at venues. Their team spirit and banter really kept energy levels high towards the end of long days!
It was also a brilliant chance to witness the amazing skills of the content creators, videographers and photographers who joined us on the trip. Not only watching their expertise in capturing the pictures and emotions of different situations, but the speed in which they edited and uploaded content while travelling between venues was incredible! I even got to give a helping hand filming and created daily 'Behind the Scenes' reels on the @Team_Scotland Instagram and my picture holding the Baton was included in a BBC News article!
There are always small hiccups or last minute inconveniences but ultimately, excellent preparation and planning coupled with talented and hard working individuals meant Scotland's leg of the relay was a real success!
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