What young people on the Journey say

Chris, Journey Graduate

I grew up around a lot of domestic violence and verbal abuse as well as bullying and moving schools a lot to get away from that. I was very sensitive, and after bullying never stopped, I had come to the conclusion no one would ever like me and became a recluse. This lead to heavy drinking to block out memories from my home life and low opinion of myself. I had resigned myself to the possibility I could probably remain this way, and was initially fearful of starting Venture Scotland as it was out of my comfort zone. I was warmly welcomed into the group, and I immediately felt like people cared about me. The physical challenges like hill walking, gorge walking and canoeing, as well as surviving and camping in all weathers for several days at a time helped me realise how strong I am mentally and physically, and also the trips to the bothy with no alcohol helped me, for the first time in my life, see I could actually be happy for 5 days with no blocking out. I had time to think and see all I was missing (great company, amazing experiences, big achievements). I now know to remind myself daily that negative feelings of anxiety come and go, and I know I can cope. I’m no longer drinking heavily (2-3 evenings max) and I have enjoyed achieving lots more in terms of writing more music, talking to old friends again, having a healthier, more active lifestyle, and just a better outlook overall. My family have noticed a huge improvement in my lifestyle and mental health and confidence, and I can honestly say, after years of therapy Venture Scotland has helped me make a complete turnaround, and has helped me more than any professional programme. I now appreciate my potential and try to make the most of it every day and enjoy life more.

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Emma, Journey Graduate aged 24

"In the homeless hostels there are lots and lots of young people who are sitting there bored and nothing to do. They've no connections or anything so don't know what to do. A quarter of all homeless are under 30. Venture Scotland simply brought me to life and out of my shell. Gave me confidence in my life and showed me how to work with a team. No one else out there is doing what VS does."

Mary, aged 23

"I've came such a long way since the beginning of the course until now. I really couldn't have done anything without the support I received from all the volunteers and staff. Venture Scotland is the family I never had. I owe so much to them. I've gained skills such as respect for the environment and for people, how to trust people, how to solve problems. My anger is now very much under control and I now have a positive outlet for my problems. Venture Scotland was my first experience of being happy. I never thought something like this would make such a difference and impact on me and my life."

Mark, aged 24

"The team at Venture Scotland has helped me a lot. Being a part of 'The Journey' and spending time outdoors gave me some time to myself to think about my goals what I wanted for my life. Before coming to Venture Scotland I had a criminal history, took drugs and had been in prison. Now i'm focussed on my job and my future. My ambition is to start my own charity and i'm getting there slowly. I want to work with drug users and their families, to help them work together as a family and help them find the best path to live in the future without struggle."

(Names changed but the words are exactly as written by our young participants).

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