We invited Programme Volunteer, David to share with us his experience of volunteering with the Youth Adventure Trust and here’s his honest and moving testimony:
“Over the past few years I have felt that my time was spent doing the same old things that for the most part we all do, I felt I needed something more, something well outside of my comfort zone. I researched volunteering and came across many worthy charities that I could help, however they were not “right” for me. That was until I came across the Youth Adventure Trust, the minute I watched the videos and read the stories of what they do I was hooked. From the initial contact with Jon and our first meeting I felt a new era of excitement and great anticipation for what laid ahead of me. The communication and support from the YAT team has been amazing. I was invited down to a training weekend with other newbies and quickly realized how much work was involved in what we were doing but at the same time how rewarding and how much we could help the young people. This was the point I started to worry, could I do this? Would I be any good? What if I made a mistake? This was most certainly outside of anything I had ever done before.
The lead up to my first camp (Mountain) was a mixture of emotions, I was both excited and nervous but I was as ready as I could be and the YAT team had given me as much information as they could. The day we left for camp I think I looked more worried than the young people but as I watched the experienced leaders and volunteers do what they do best I quickly found my feet. Upon arrival I was introduced to the team of volunteers I would be with for the week and the group of young people we would be helping on this journey together. Camp life is full on, all the time and the young people are demanding but the reward for your patience is amazing, seeing them form as a group of virtual strangers into friends and team mates was inspiring. The camp was super well organized and we were never far away from a YAT leader who were always happy to help where needed. We had planned activities and events all day every day and everything ran like a well-oiled machine.
The camps are not just for the young people to learn new things, I too learnt a new skill that I never thought I would need outside of my school days – The ability to make up weird and wonderful games on the spot to keep the young people entertained for ten minutes. Creating a bond during this short time with these young people is a feeling I will never forget, one young person who was painfully shy and quiet had a love of horses and I was blessed with a full on discussion about the difference between ponies and horses.
At the end of the week we have a chance to reflect with the young people, during this review session I asked a young person who had been particularly challenging all week what they got out of the week and they said they felt like they could trust adults more, this was a truly humbling thing to hear as it is something most of us take for granted.
At the end of my time there I was utterly exhausted but in such an energized way, it is a very funny feeling, I have found something that I never thought I could do and enjoy so much as this. I came away from the camp feeling truly blessed, it was such a fulfilling experience. One I will not forget for a long time. I cannot wait to go back and do it again.”
If you have been inspired by David’s journey and might like to volunteer with us then you can visit our Volunteering pages here.