"Across the industry, most colleges have some kind of internal reflection on their students achievements, but I’ve never come across a model like this, which is so refreshing. Paying it forward, the reason behind the Future Fit Legacy Awards, sat very well with me and so I was inspired to meet the applicants on their way into our industry.”
Like all the judges, Mitch was blown away by the quality of the award finalists:
“At times our industry in its broader sense, as a profession, gets a bad reputation, but the people we met were genuinely doing some unbelievable work, using fitness, health and wellbeing to improve the lives of local people. It was really humbling."
“All the shortlisted applicants came with a sense of purpose and a true connection with the community they are serving. Each brought a unique interpretation on how physical activity can be used in different ways with different outcomes, whether for the older generation, emerging athletes or young people."
“Traditionally, people do fitness because of the way it looks, feels and smells. So many others don’t do it for that very same reason. The finalists all understood their audience. They demonstrated the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. Despite the fact you can’t train people in empathy, every one of the finalists showed huge empathy and a desire to use their training to help others.
The winner of the Dare to be Great category was 64-year-old Zoreh Jahedi, whose mother’s illness led her to seek education around the role of nutrition in overall health.
“Zoreh had a personal situation that triggered a response, which really made her stand out. The circumstances around her mother’s illness means she wants to educate others to ensure they don’t have the same situation. This alternative approach, for someone at her stage in life, is incredible.”
Mitch has high hopes for the newcomers in his category, along with all the finalists, and believes the CIMSPA membership received by the Raising the Bar finalists is a vital step in professionalising the sector.
“I have hope and aspiration that the finalists will all still be in the industry in 10 years time, still lighting fires and still moving their role forwards; using the awards as a stepping stone to great things.
“It was important to give the Raising the Bar finalists CIMSPA membership as part of their prize because we have to give them a home and a place where they can be proud to be a professional and do their work. The role CIMSPA plays in our sector around recognition is vital. To address physical inactivity and inequality we need our industry to be professional and regulated, and have a kite mark that says we are.”
Tom Godwin, Head of Education and Training at Future Fit and judge in the Raising Your Bar category