Fundraising Superstars! Young Person Edition

Young Person's Journey

Today, we’re catching up with one of our amazing fundraisers/Journey graduates, Caitlin. Caitlin graduated from our North Lanarkshire project in August last year – if you’ve been in our Glasgow office, you’ll have seen our walls decorated with Caitlin’s wonderful poems about her Journey experience! Today we’re chatting to Caitlin about all things outdoors, VS and why she’s decided to fundraise for Venture Scotland! Let’s dive in to her Q&A!

Caitlin, tell us a bit about yourself; have you always been an outdoorsy person? 

I was never an outdoorsy person. I spent 7 years as a competitive swimmer since I was 9 so I spent all my time in a pool and a gym. I didn’t start hill walks until 2021 and even then, not many but since finishing Venture Scotland’s programme last year, I hate when I’m not outdoors, now! I’m always looking for a new challenge in the outdoors! 

You graduated with Venture Scotland’s North Lanarkshire project – since finishing the course, where have the skills and experience you learned at VS taken you? 

The experiences I had at VS have taken me so far in such a short amount of time. I’ve travelled solo to the Isle of Skye where I camped for a few days. I climbed a hill in the campsies and thanks to my time at VS I knew what to pack and how to read a map, which I didn’t know before – and it came in real handy when I needed rescued by mountain rescue after getting injured! I remembered Georgios (Outdoor Programme Lead for Glasgow) showing us how to give a 6-figure grid reference. I was never good with numbers at school, but this really stuck in my head. 

I’ve continued to go bouldering by myself. I’ve seen a huge rise in my confidence, and I throw myself at anything, just like I did at VS. The most amazing thing I learned and still remind myself to do now, is to just be present whatever it is that I’m doing and that’s something I’d never done before. 

Tell us a bit about your fundraiser! What are you doing to fundraise? 

I’m doing the Glasgow Kiltwalk and chose to do the biggest one, which is about 22 or 23 miles from Glasgow to Balloch! I wanted a challenge but also something that is fun and enjoyable to take part in. 

And what are you hoping to get out of the experience? 

A sense of achievement at completing a massive challenge while doing it for a very good cause. And just to have fun and enjoy every bit of it!

What made you decide to fundraise for Venture Scotland? 

I wanted to fundraise for Venture Scotland because this place has really changed me so much, in a positive way. From how I look at myself and my past, to being loved and accepted for who I was, showing me how much the outdoors can help me mentally and so much more. And I want more young people like me to experience the amazing work Venture Scotland does and have the opportunity to change their lives too, because it really is a life-changing experience!  

How does fundraising for Venture Scotland make you feel? 

It makes me feel really amazing because I feel like I’m giving back to the place that has changed my life and I’ll hopefully help to make a difference. 

Venture Scotland uses the outdoors as a vehicle for improved mental health – what do the outdoors mean to you? 

Once I’ve been outside, I feel so much better. Anytime I’m struggling I always go for a walk now, and I always come back with a clearer head. Even if it’s cold, snowing, rain or sunny I get outside as much as I can, it gives me time for myself to be present without the stress of everything and the constant scrolling on my phone. I feel more connected, calm and present when I’m outdoors. Spending this much time outdoors is new to me, so it’s just so much fun exploring new places. 

If you could only take part in one more VS activity session, what activity would it be and why? 

Omg, that’s a hard one! There’s so many to choose from – I loved all the activities. I can only narrow it down to 2 and that’s outdoor rock climbing and coasteering. That feeling of letting go of that fear and just launching myself into the North Sea and climbing so close to the top was so amazing and felt so freeing. 

If someone was thinking about supporting Venture Scotland, what would you tell them? 

Do it!! The support and funding that VS gets is so important and goes so far to helping so many young people, supporting them to change their life.  

What’s your favourite joke? 

I’m really bad at jokes but since I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, I’ll go with this one. 

How much do you pay to watch Harry Poter play his favourite sport? 

It’s a quid each…A quidditch!