Young Volunteer, Kurtis Sequoyah, shows how challenges can be overcome, perceptions can be altered and limitations can be assets.
British Cycling’s Young Volunteer programme is now in its fifth year, and we have been looking at ways to support and sustain our young people in the roles that they wish to hold.
One key example of this can be seen through our latest Coaching Bursary scheme. Young volunteers on the programme with a keen interest in coaching have been offered funding, to help them become qualified coaches and in turn support our Go-Ride club activities up and down the country.
One individual in particular has shown how - with the right support and strong determination for success - challenges can be overcome, perceptions can be altered and limitations can be assets.
Here, we highlight how Kurtis Sequoah succeeded in his quest to become a fully qualified British Cycling Coach.
Volunteer development and coach profile: Kurtis Sequoyah
Young Volunteer: Kurtis Sequoyah
When did you become a qualified coach?
April this year.
What inspired you to get involved with coaching and complete your award?
What inspired me was the thought that helping out at the club might inspire others and encourage them to join in. I really enjoyed helping and assisting others, I knew it was something that I could do.
What do you enjoy about coaching at your club?
Generally helping out whenever possible. Teaching the younger riders and joining in with the other coaches during sessions.
What do you feel you can add that other coaches at the club can’t?
Inspiring others with learning difficulties, teaching in a different way.
What challenges have you faced as a volunteer given your learning disability?
Sometimes not understanding a task given to me.
What have you gained from completing your Level 1 coaching Award?
Lots of knowledge about different things I never knew before.
How do you think this experience might help to provide other opportunities for you in life?
It gave me confidence to talk to others and understand what they are trying to say to me.
Is there any advice you would give to anyone else considering doing a coaching award?
I would say that it helped me understand what being a coach is like and how much I could get out of it, in enjoyment & knowledge.
Club Treasure, L2 coach and Go-Ride contact: Tom Heenan
"When the junior volunteering awards were introduced, Kurtis was one of the first to volunteer and was keen to get stuck in. It was him who approached the coaches to gain experience delivering and him who organised all his own elements. The club already had established sessions with Level 2 coaches, who were willing to help all our coaching volunteers.
"Kurtis completed all his junior volunteer awards at the same time that our club gained funding from The Town Trust (Stratford’s own charity who help fund all sorts of things in our town) to pay towards more coaches for our rapidly expanding junior coaching activities. Kurtis was one among seven who applied to become a coach.
"Before submitting his application for the Level 1 course, I spoke with Nick Yarworth, our Regional Development Manager and a course tutor. We discussed the suitability of the course for Kurtis and whether he was in a position to gain and live up to the responsibility of the qualification - frankly a fair question for all applicants! We thought that it was his equal opportunity to be given the chance to further his knowledge in his chosen participation area.
"During his course, Kurtis was given all the group time and support he needed from the club - the same as all the other aspiring coaches. Kurtis made all the decisions on what he wanted and needed himself. As it turns out, he did a very good job and went on to qualify in the normal time period.
"The truth is, beyond a single phone call we have done nothing special for Kurtis. That is not a bad thing - quite the opposite. I believe that we value all of our members and value even more our volunteers. Our leadership is built on a passion for the sport and a genuine interest in people who share that interest in the sport."
Coach: Des Sequoyah
Care & Maintenance, Grounds Keeper, Mechanic (qualified) & special needs consultant.
"Kurtis has Autism, ADHD & Learning difficulties and has been in the special schools system since the age of five years. He has difficulties with expressing himself and being able to put into words what he needs to say. He also has difficulties understanding instructions and what others are saying. He often needs to have things explained in different ways, so he can understand them.
"Kurtis also needs help to explain himself, as he finds it had to put into words what he wants to say. I have helped him with day to day life, to almost translate for him and from him. This has gradually helped him to understand more and to be understood more. He is more able to do this for himself recently, especially in the last couple of years, however occasionally still has a problem.
"The Young Volunteer Awards and the Level 1 Coaching Cycling course has helped him to come out of himself more and more. He has been more confident to be able to talk and instruct others, with the full knowledge of the experience gained and the qualifications behind him.
"Now, Kurtis Coaches and assists the weekly junior club sessions, planning and assisting with club competitions. He also marshals and helps with club races. He used to ride in the club training sessions and the Go-Ride sessions, but much prefers coaching and helping.
"Kurtis brings many strengths to his role as a coach. Being able to see things in a different way, to understand the younger children better, to express the instructions in a way easier understood. He also does things by the book. He has a very good memory for the important things and can be very caring. Kurtis will often be very meticulous in planning & setting up.
"Kurtis has overcome difficulties to gain the qualification and to continue with coaching with his disabilities – a battle of which he is quite proud of."