53 weeks – a year and one week 😜 I appeared everywhere this week! In print and in person❤️🏹

Thank you to Jonathon Yau for his photos this weekend and the various parents who caught me as I ran around.

I have spoken before about volunteering for Archery GB and the competition team. As I enjoy competing I am grateful to those who work hard to put events on, whatever the level, local club scored rounds to international competitions the basics are very similar, just number of competitors that often see the need for an increase in the numbers of workforce required. Don’t be afraid, give it a go, those who have been doing it a while are always on hand in the moment to help and as with any busy, time restricted happening, there’s occasionally a cross word, but at the end of the day when we collapse over food and prep for tomorrow this are resolved and forgotten and replaced with laughter.

We are successful because we work hard together and take care of each other, we are a team. Blue shirts, green shirts, paid staff and volunteers and by far the most important thing is we have a sense of humour, as can often be seen in the photos.

Why do I do it? This weekend I had a child approach me to ask if they could show me a photo, a collage of what they have won or earned since last year’s JNOC. This same child stood on this same grass a year ago crying and they were going to quit, not withdraw from the competition but quit the sport. I, as I often do, saw them and started a conversation, with them, with their parent. We kind of sorted it, they went back to the line, and a couple of times came back to find me over the weekend for another little chat. A year later they wanted to show me their achievements and thanked me for helping them stay in the sport.

It is a privilege to be allowed to help someone pause, breathe and reset. I have children and adults who often come to find me at competitions to let me know how they are doing, 6 months, a year, 5 years later, 1 who messages me occasionally from overseas to update me as they no longer live in the UK. Often these are people who I don’t know until I see them crying on a range. In part it’s who I am, I know how it feels when life is biting you, if I can help I will. In part it’s the safeguarding officer in me. Mental well-being is as important as everything else that we are taking care of.

Which is why it’s hard to see children, or adults, crying because a parent or coach is shouting, in some cases swearing at an archer. As they come back from the line, being berated for their scores! There are less of these than those who support, but there are far too many and whilst we are looking at ways to change it, it’s huge, a culture created over time. It’s not acceptable and certainly I have seen and supported some with very real, very serious examples of bullying.

There’s also too many examples of children bullying others, encouraged by parents and coaches because throwing them off their game might bring down their scores and let you win. Sure it might, but it does make you a bully and it’s not something to encourage by responsible grown ups!

As ever my body hates what I drag out of it when I do these events and I now have to recover. It’s worth it to me, another event that was a success put on by team work. Now it’s time to sit and reflect on what happened, what I might do going forward and also how I might help create change for others too.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to celebrate my first year of Integr8Archery and those who have read the membership magazine will see the numbers quoted vary a little from what I was able to finalise for my end of year data, simply because they needed information to get the magazine ready and I still had another 6 weeks work to put in! You will have noticed that I am on more than one page 😱😂 but it’s making me smile how you all think Clair is me too, my shirt and hats are warn by many, I am not the only crazy archer out there getting bows in hands, I do have help 🙃

Thank you to everyone who sent kind words in reply to the Northamptonshire Sports article on my being selected as a Northants Active Champion, it was a little overwhelming and incredibly humbling – thank you 😊

Events delivered last week, more planned over this week and the summer and meetings, meetings, meetings! The latest children’s coaching collaborative meeting discussing play their way, was another great session and it’s always great to be in the multi sports environment as I do think that whilst things need to change in archery there’s lots who need the same change and supporting each other can only make us stronger.

I am trying to pull as much together as I can before my Dunster week, I don’t know what time or internet access I will have whilst there for 10 days so let’s get what we can sorted before I am away. It’s amazing how many people have asked me to shave days off my trip, no! I have worked hard this last year to stay in my sport with a bow in my hand and to relearn the joy and how to smile. So I won’t be giving it up! I don’t care about scores or bling, I am going to experience something I was previously discouraged from doing and doing it with my friend.

I will let you know how it goes as I am sure I will be encouraging you all to give it a go to.

Take care and enjoy your week 🥰 hugs and kisses to you all