Date Posted
6th Mar 2018

Olympia Youth Coach Leadership Retreat - Living Springs

On the weekend of 3rd and 4th March, Olympia, engaged 20 youth (11 girls and 9 boys aged between 13 and 16) coaches and 4 leaders (2 from Olympia Gymnastic Sports, 1 from Sport Canterbury and 1 from HPSNZ Athletics) in a coach leadership programme at Living Springs Camp and Conference Centre.  The retreat was designed to support, develop and engage the youth on 3 levels:

  1. Leadership growth and learning facilitated by Kathryn Searle and Melissa Wakeham.
  2. A HPSNZ athlete’s journey – the good, the bad and the ugly – Torie Owers (Thrower)
  3. Coach Approach and Athlete Centred Coaching facilitiated Michael De Bono from Sport Canterbury.

The opportunity to take part in this 2nd Youth Retreat (inaugural retreat was successfully delivered in February 2016)  was taken up by not only Olympia and Te Wero gymnastics clubs, but also from local Christchurch schools (Rolleston College, Aidanfield Christian College and Cashmere High School) via support and connections from Sport Canterbury.   

Benefits to Youth

The Youth had the opportunity to look deeply into their impact on the children of our community that they coach. Some of the questions that that were unpacked included:

“why people react or act the way they do”

“what motivates and demotivates people”

“how we as leaders can stop, listen, influence outcomes and understand


Topics covered

Increased awareness and knowledge of leadership styles, learning preferences, and competencies, fixed and growth midsets.

A focus on emotional intelligence (self awareness, self regulation, social awareness, social skills, self motivation)

Active Listening and role-playing

Giving Feedback

Motivation verses demotivation

Defensive responses (Amygdala Hijack)

Conflict resolution

The retreat provided an opportunity for the youth to spend time exploring leadership concepts not necessarily taught at school, sharing their thoughts and experiences with youth from a variety of sports from rugby, martial arts through to gymnastics from both a participant and coach perspective.   The facilities were a safe, welcoming and pleasant environment and we can highly recommend Living Springs as an amazing venue for engaging youth.

Special thanks to Melissa Wakeham, Torie Owers, Mike De Bono, Sport Canterbury and Living Springs Staff.

Kathryn Searle

6 March 2018