A Volunteer’s Experience
My name is Richard, and I have been volunteering for Nature Unlimited since it was created in 2015. From my point of view, our sessions are about giving people the opportunity to learn basic life skills in a safe and enjoyable environment. We try and foster in our groups the idea of being open about how we are feeling with each other and to think about the consequences their words and actions have on others. These may seem like fairly obvious things to think about, but with many of the groups we work with, they are either too young or too emotionally underdeveloped to understand this.
We provide a fun environment in which they can learn these basic skills. One of the most important things to achieve this is to get rid of the concept of an absolute authority figure such as a teacher or parent – most of the people we work with don’t have good experiences with these people in their lives anyway. To this end, although we, as the ones leading the sessions are in charge, it’s all about letting the group as a whole decide what they want to do. We provide a variety of options for activities and they get to choose what they want to do. For instance we could provide the choices of games, den building or tool work, and they can choose together what they want to do, whether it be one or all of the activities.
It’s not just the groups we lead which benefit from this, we do as well. Myself for instance, when I started volunteering in the woods back in 2014, I was a very nervous introverted person who suffered from bad depression. Today I am confident and self-assured. I have grown greatly as a person and adult. This is all thanks to Nature Unlimited giving me a purpose through responsibility for others and a sense of belonging to a team rather than just being a useful pair of hands and legs. It also helps that it really is fun and enjoyable, you always end up looking forward to the next session, thinking about what you want to do.
To anyone who is thinking of booking a session or volunteering with us I would say this: if you’re already considering it, then you should come join us in the woods!