A volunteer interview with Caroline on her role as Adventure Group Coordinator & Instructor at her outdoor camp placement in the UK.
Caroline is currently still on her placement and enjoying the adventure!
How did you find the support you received before departure?
The support I received was brilliant. I ran into some visa issues with the first placement I was going to and Lattitude helped me all along the way.
What is the accommodation like at your placement?
I am living in the upstairs of the coach house (the reception building) with five other girls. I am really enjoying the accommodation, but I do miss the window screens that I had back home.
Do you feel you are making a difference at your placement?
I’ve done a few group coordinating gigs as of now and I feel like I make a great difference while doing that. I talk to all the kids and they are always amazed when I know all their names. I have even heard a few kids say that I am their “favourite teacher.” It’s heartwarming and it’s always great to see that they are having a fun time.
Can you tell us about the high point(s) of your placement?
Seeing kids achieve something that they thought they couldn’t do. We have lots of height related activities at the camp. When someone finishes an activity and they say that they were afraid at first but they loved it, it’s such a great feeling.
Meeting all of the other Gappers has been such a great experience. They are all very different in their fun little ways, but we all mesh very well. It’s cliche, but we are one big chaotic family.
Can you tell us about the toughest part(s) of your placement?
I like things neat and tidy and when you share living spaces with people who don’t share the same belief, it can get stressful.
I miss my family quite a bit, but talking to them on the phone helps alleviate that.
Has your experience matched up with your expectations? How so, and how has it differed?
I did not know what to expect before I came here! It was such a last minute placement for me that I almost felt like I was thrown into it. But I quickly got into the groove of things and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I also thought I wouldn’t need sunscreen. I was wrong.
What advice you would offer to future volunteers at your placement, and with Lattitude in general?
If a future volunteer wanted to come to Blackwell, I would advise them to get out of their comfort zone and try to hang out with the other Gappers right from the get-go. Even though I was exhausted from my flight to England, I still participated in the training that happened the evening I arrived. Don’t get discouraged if you do not learn something right away. I did not come from an extremely outdoorsy/risk loving background, but I did not let that stop me from trying everything at the camp.
Lattitude is always going to try to help you in any way that they can. If something is going wrong on your visa application, let them know and they will do what they can!