Today is part one in a series of Q&A’s with the people who keep our Glasgow base running – from our Outdoor Programme Leader, Chris, to our VS volunteers; Jennifer, Ewan, Louise and Fraser!
Today we’re talking all things Venture Scotland with VS volunteer (and Board member!) Jennifer Peebles.
Jennifer. Tell us a bit about yourself. Have you always been an outdoorsy person? What do you get up to outside of VS?
I work in the education sector, 2 days a week and while I like to work hard, I make sure I leave plenty time to enjoy life, particularly the outdoors. I am a fan of the outdoors, especially skiing, tennis, and hillwalking – an enthusiastic ‘Munro bagger’ (106 bagged to date, only 176 to go!).
I think my love of the outdoors started at very young age when my mum and dad would ‘pack’ my brother, sister and I into a tiny mini cooper van and head for some remote place, usually up north. There we would spend many weekends and holidays with nothing more than the natural environment to play with. I have such fond memories of these family holidays. I find myself now doing the same with my own children and grandchildren. You can often find us on a beach somewhere, having a sausage sizzle, playing games, and making memories.
You can find me, however, at times, curled up on the sofa reading a book or watching TV. I recently did a woodwork course in the evenings and was a proud as punch with the blanket box I made. Not quite ready to take furniture order but watch this space…
You’ve been volunteering with Venture Scotland since 2020 – what got you involved with VS in the first place?
A chance conversation with a colleague, led me rushing home from work and googling Venture Scotland. I soon realised that I was very aligned with the values of VS, given that the outdoors plays a significant role in my life. I, therefore, had no hesitation clicking on the ‘volunteer’ button.
So, at the beginning of November 2020, after an initial chat with a VS staff member, I started the volunteer training. Doing it online wasn’t ideal but am I glad I persevered! Having completed the training, which was interesting and fun, I was introduced to the Glasgow group of young people in January 2021. Following several weeks of Zoom meetings, we eventually got to meet up face to face. What a pleasure!
I am out with the group most weeks, taking part in local park walks, canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling, weaselling and coasteering (I missed the coasteering session so hopefully next time, fingers crossed, toes crossed, arms crossed, legs crossed, everything crossed).
What do you like most about volunteering with VS? What’s it like working with our Glasgow YP?
Two of the most memorable times I was with the Glasgow group was when they went rock climbing and abseiling, I was reduced to tears, happy tears though! This group of exceptional young people had the opportunity to experience something completely new that would take them way out of their comfort zones and they all ‘went for it’. It was a privilege to witness it.
Some of the best days I’ve had with the group, have been when we’re out in local parks. We chat, (about A to Z and everything in between), we laugh, we reflect, we open up, and we share.
As VS is a constant fixture in their lives, the young people have been able to build trusting relationships with staff, volunteers, and each other, becoming more socially and self-aware, despite the many challenges they face in their lives.
I thoroughly enjoy being a small part of the young peoples’ big journey, watching them develop new skills and grow in confidence week on week.
Venture Scotland uses the outdoors as a vehicle for improved mental health – what do the outdoors mean to you?
Being passionate about the outdoors, I can fully appreciate the transformative impact that it can have on developing resilience, confidence, and enhancing mental and physical wellbeing, and I can see the actual difference it has made for this group since they started going outdoors in March.
If you could only take part in one more activity session with Venture Scotland, what activity would it be and why?
Coasteering! I missed the last summer session and it looks great fun!
What’s your favourite joke?
“What do you get hanging from banana trees?”
Well, I think it’s funny😊
If you want to help Jennifer and the rest of our Glasgow team to keep #ChangingYoungLives please follow the link to our Save Glasgow campaign – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/save-Glasgow?invite=true