Insightful Experience for Tasha at the National Football Futures Camp 2015

Back in July, Tasha Buckland was chosen to represent Berks & Bucks FA to attend the National Football Futures Camp 2015 at St. Georges Park.

This 'once in a lifetime' opportunity for Tasha, proved to be very beneficial and informative. Helping her to achieve her knowledge in football both on and off the pitch. We asked Tasha to provide us with a brief write-up about her experiences at the camp, which ran on the 20th-23rd of July 2015.

Football plays a key role in my life as I continue my development both on and off the pitch; playing, coaching, refereeing and being a member of the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Youth Council (formed in 2013) and 2015 is fast becoming the pinnacle of this journey!

In June I was selected to represent the Berks Bucks FA as a Young Leader at the National Football Futures Camp 2015 held at the National Football Centre, St George’s Park from 20-23 July. This is planned and delivered by The FA National Game Youth Council, who were also on hand to share stories of their own footballing journeys. Immediately I felt proud to be selected for a national event however this was also daunting as I was there to represent my county in-front of the top young leaders and mentors in the country.

On the train to St George’s Park I was nervous, apprehensive and excited, this was an opportunity that not many people get and I wanted to make sure I made the most of it. Making the trip with a Young Leader I met on the train helped us both relax we walked in amongst strangers knowing we would always recognise at least one face. That is a surreal experience in itself 99 of us in a room all looking around nervously not knowing what to expect, luckily that did not last long!

The first two days consisted of five general workshops, with the aim to give an insight into a variety of roles including; ‘Promoting the Game’, ‘Refereeing’, ‘Informal Football’, ‘Futsal’ and ‘Disability Football’. Standing up to pitch our idea in the ‘Promoting the Game’ workshop is not something I would normally be known for doing, but to get the most out of a National Camp you have to throw yourself in head first and this was something I definitely wanted to do! Another highlight from these workshops would definitely be Blind Football the insight you gain from this makes it something I highly recommend trying.

The following two days were on your own specialist area – coaching, refereeing or youth council. The coaching specialism was inspiring, both from the tutors delivery but also getting to work alongside other young leaders. For me, a personal highlight was getting to deliver a session the feedback from this in my opinion is invaluable.

Although there are many learning points to come away with, for me these were the ones that really had everyone in the room thinking;

- ‘Have 70% ball rolling time in every session’ – This may sound relatively easy but as we found out you are a lot closer to this ‘limit’ than you think

- Are you coaching to create a good... footballer/pupil/person? – What is the reason YOU Coach?

After the hard work we all put into the workshops there was the more relaxed, social side to the camp. Daily ‘Reflection Sessions’ allowed us to form friendships and gave the opportunity for mentoring, debates and games. #SmileForJoel Selfies were regularly taken in memory of Joel Richards (a level four Referee and Chair of the Birmingham Youth Council, who was a victim of the Tunisia shootings). The event was then rounded off with a football tournament – I mean you can’t have a football camp without playing some competitive football can you?

The evenings consisted of various activities; the icebreaker of a Ten Year Football Futures Camp Anniversary Sports Day, a talk on Careers in Football and the Annual Summer Ball. The Summer Ball was used as a fundraiser for the Official FA Charity Partner Breast Cancer Care and we managed to raise £1254 in just one night!

The end of the camp came around much faster than any of us expected. However with our Facebook group already set up, social media names and phone numbers taken we eventually departed. All going our separate ways, but knowing the people we met we would always stay in contact with.

On a personal note, this event has opened a lot of doors for me. Through my mentor on camp I met many of the people I will be looking to work with in my roles as a University Football Activator, Youth Council Member and a Coach in the coming year. The networking alongside the learning opportunities from the tutors and mentors has really boosted my knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm.

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the experience you take away from events like this is hard to match. If you ever have a chance to attend an event like this I would really recommend it.

Take home messages from those at FFCamp15;

‘I alone may not be able to change the world - but I can drop a stone in the water and watch the ripples’

‘Don't let the world change your smile.... Let your smile change the world’

‘Be the change you want to see in the world’

Take That – Never Forget; ‘We’ve had success, We’ve had good times, But remember this...’ ‘Never forget where you've come here from, Never pretend that it's all real, Someday soon this will be someone else's dream’

Natasha Buckland

If you would like to find out more about the local Football Futures Camp we offer at Berks & Bucks FA and how to register, please see the documents below. Or email: or for any further information on the Football Futures Programme.