VS Volunteer Louise and her West Highland Way Fundraiser!

Venture Scotland volunteer, Louise, has been with us since 2018 and has canoed, climbed and abseiled with the best of them! Louise, alongside her eight friends, will be walking the West Highland Way at the end of June to raise money for Venture Scotland – here’s what she has to say about her time with VS!

Before moving to Glasgow I was sent a link to Venture Scotland’s website from a friend who said ‘you should volunteer, this is right up your street’ and immediately knew I wanted to do it, which I did as soon as I moved. I love being outdoors and wanted to be outside more in nature and reading what work VS did with young folk I wanted to be involved in supporting them in whatever way I could. Plus, even though I was offering my time and I know it is always appreciated very much, I feel like I am the one who is gaining more. I am building new friendships, learning lots of new outdoor skills like packing a rucksack to travel lightly (you really don’t need the kitchen sink), canoeing, rock climbing, hillwalking, cooking for a lot of people in a bothy and having a really good time getting to know the participants on the course.

Initially I thought I’d have to have some sort of skills to volunteer as I wasn’t sure if I’d know how to engage with young folk who might have particular anxieties or complex problems but I like to talk and have brought up a teenager and thought that definitely would give me a head start. To be honest I’ve found packing the rucksack a greater task than engaging with participants! I’ve been out in all weathers and walked miles and had great conversations with participants on the course who really are such great people, I have learned a lot from them and had such a laugh on our days out. I really enjoyed tree planting and planting the crocus and snowdrop bulbs in Pollock Park, we had a great time doing that. 

I believe that it will be 4 years I have volunteered and I always get excited probably more than the participants when I know I have a day booked in to volunteer. It’s just great working with a group, seeing them grow and learn skills because of the work VS does during the 12 month programme and then to finally see them at the awards ceremony is really emotional. I feel proud to be a volunteer with such a great charity and it is like a 2nd family!

The last 2 years have been different for everyone involved at VS however the team are just pretty amazing at adapting and putting the young folk first and if anything were more determined to ensure the support was still there. I myself changed how I volunteered and did a stint of working on some of the social media posts which was fun to do looking back at photos of previous participants, volunteers and staff plus I was able to keep up to date on progress of the participants on the course and how they were adapting to a virtual programme. 

I did a fundraiser in 2019 and climbed Ben Lomond for the Summer Solstice and raised some money for VS and also saw some gorgeous sunsets and stunning views from the top. I’ve decided to do the West Highland Way with a group of women at the end of June and I thought I’d try and raise some valuable funds for VS as every penny raised they use to buy vital items to help ensure the young folk have kit, food or anything needed to get them to the end of the programme successfully. 

Louise Fullerton, VS Volunteer

Here’s the link to Louise’s fundraiser Louise Fullerton is fundraising for Venture Scotland (justgiving.com)