A Celebration of Talent

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What is Talent?

According to various definitions, people with talent possess natural ability or skill.

As the football transfer deadline approaches, the sporting media continue to pontificate on whether or not Gareth Bale is worth €100m. Terms such as ‘Prodigious Talent’ and ‘Precocious Talent’ are often read and heard, though too often are over-used and abused.

This summer I have been invited to various events in order to witness talent in many different forms, many resulting in ‘genuine wobbly chin moments’.

At the Alhambra in Bradford, I joined hundreds of others at ‘For One Night Only’, an evening of Dance and Music, organized by Deana Morgan as a fund-raiser for the Haven Breast Cancer charity. The performances were truly outstanding, the result of long and intense rehearsals, either live or online.

Dance and music also featured at the XLR8 Camps across the UK this summer.

This year Evolve operated 18 Camps in Birmingham, Bristol, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and for the first time ever, in London and Wales, with over 1000 learners attending.

Children making the transition from primary to secondary school were involved in two themes, ‘Super Heroes’ and ‘My Tribe, My Land’. Each theme featured four elements:

  • Vitality;
  • Enterprise;
  • DigITal Me;
  • Talent.

At Camp, the learners identified and developed their talents during various activities delivered by the Health Mentors. The performance of these talents was improved by the introduction of ‘PB:ME’, a concept developed by @ProjectHEROMan.

Many of the talents were showcased to parents, carers and teachers at their new secondary schools. Performances included dance, song, rap, comedy routines and more. Some of the performers had to overcome nerves in order to take to the stage, while others seemed to be ‘naturals’.

This year, XLR8 Camps benefitted from the presence of Volunteers who had just completed their GCSEs. The talents of these young adults simply astounded me. Their ability to inspire their future Year 7 students was nothing short of outstanding, with skills in drumming, rap, choreography and sport impressing both participants and visitors, who also recognized the pastoral abilities of these role models.

These summer observations raised the questions:

How do we nurture these talents?
How do we ‘sign-post’ learners so that they can realise their potential?

This latter question was the subject of a presentation by Josh Cronin at the inaugural Mentor Meet at Evolve’s 2013 National Conference, where some of the Health Mentors shared their own talents and ideas with their peers.

So, as yet another series of X-Factor begins and the heated debates surrounding Bale’s transfer continues, we should remember that most of the talent out there will not be recognised by the mass media. However, we need to realise that the talent is out there and it is our responsibility to nurture the learners with whom we work. They will make mistakes along the way, but by developing characteristics such as resilience as well as creativity, we can allow them and their talents to grow…

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