Using the outdoors to bring young people together from wide, diverse backgrounds can be transformational in supporting them acquire the skills, behaviours and confidence to shape their own future in a positive way.
Over the last 90 years the British Exploring Society (BES) have been pushing transformational youth development through expeditions to remote locations and it’s something Matthew Scott got to see for himself when he volunteered for them.
“Back in 2019 I was successful in my application to become a British Exploring Society volunteer. Four cancelled expeditions followed (due to the pandemic). However, the fifth expedition went ahead and I was assigned as a volunteer Knowledge Leader - Landmark Scottish Highlands. The youth development I saw in action was above and beyond what I imagined possible. I'm fully intent on continuing my involvement with the charity - but to be a more useful member of the volunteer team, I looked to up-skill and complete Mountain Leader training.”
Matt has had a passion for the outdoors and the natural world right from his early days growing up in Northern Ireland and personally benefiting from experiences gained on such things as the DofE programme. This initial experience with the BES reinforced that he wanted to do more in helping use outdoor experiences to shape and inspire young peoples lives. As a volunteer with British Exploring Society the costs needed to be covered by himself, but the thought of being part of this transformational youth development kept him driven in taking on the personal development that would expand his skillset as a volunteer leader on BES expeditions.
A £150 award from the Alpkit Foundation helped to cover some of the costs associated with undertaking the Mountain Leader training in the Lake District, such as travel, accommodation and course costs themselves.
“The last week of October when I undertook my training was a very wet week, with significant flooding in the Lake District. Indeed, it was the worst rain and flooding I've ever seen! Myself and the rest of those on my training course managed to not get washed away, and successfully completed our Mountain Leader Training. I'm hoping to undertake my Mountain Leader Assessment in spring 2022. By up-skilling it will enable me to become a more valuable and multi-disciplined member of the BES expedition volunteer leader team. Ultimately I hope the young people I will work with through the charity in the years to come will benefit the most from my ability to lead them in an expanded and competent manner.”
It was fantastic to hear back from Matt on how things had gone and we wish him the best of luck in becoming fully qualified this summer, developing further and continuing to help others from this.