I am not from a wealthy background and my whole life I have had to self-fund things, even the basics. But I have always tried to be really active and did a lot of volunteering in my hometown in the Scottish Borders. When Covid hit I was living, working and going to college in Edinburgh.
In 2019 I applied to take part in The Outward Bound Trust’s ‘Scotland’s Next Generation’ project through the Young Scot Rewards Scheme. I was awarded a fully funded place and that summer spent 19-days at Loch Eil taking part in the Outward Bound Skills for Life Award. My experience was so powerful for me in many ways, starting with feeling that I had someone support me. Before being awarded my place I always had to do things for myself.
I learned many skills on the course through a wide variety of adventure activities that really pushed me outside of my comfort zone: Long and challenging expeditions, water activities, rock climbing and abseiling. I was also working with other young people I had never met before. In 19 days I developed so much, I built some great relationships with my group and we still keep in touch. The course has definitely made a big impact on the person I am today and has helped me over the last year of Covid.
I’m usually a very busy person, I need to keep my mind busy at all times and coming from studying alongside two jobs to nothing in lockdown took a massive toll on me.
When you are at Outward Bound it really pushes you to your limits and helps you realise who you are and what you are capable of. You have to have the right mindset to be open to trying new things. I found this especially on the overnight expeditions and wild camps as they can be really tough. Whenever I have felt down about things during Covid I remembered all the things I achieved on my course, that I had overcome difficult challenges and I’d done this by keeping a positive mindset.
Being at Outward Bound also taught me that it’s okay to have alone time. This has really helped during the last year, especially when people are posting what they are up to and what exciting things they have done over lockdown. There’s a pressure to do something Insta-worthy every day. And a pressure to constantly be on your phone. But I know you don’t have to, you can have days off your phone, to take a few hours to go out for a walk and check in with yourself.
Outward Bound gave me courage to go after the things I love, to pursue my dreams and to be happy with who I am. I have learned it’s okay to ask for help and my confidence has increased. My plans came to a stop last March, but I realised I have it in me to adapt. Recently I’ve taken part in online classes for dance which before I may have dismissed or been self-conscious about.
Being part of Scotland’s Next Generation taught me to be proactive. Now instead of thinking I can’t do it, I think, “you know what - with hard work I can do this”. I use this now in everyday life. I know that whatever Covid or the future hold for me, I will succeed.
To sponsor or nominate a young person for Scotland’s Next Generation please visit outwardbound.org.uk/SNG