| Participant stories

My life would not be the same if I hadn't got involved with VT

Michelle, a participant on our Inspiring Young Futures programme, reflects on her time with - and after - Venture Trust:

"...The trip had a thing called support groups where we would sit down and discuss goals to set for ourselves and our group.

This happened maybe every day or every second day and at first I was like 'I'm not doing this, it will be pointless', the usual! So at first my goals were a little basic like 'get to know the other participants, get involved more with group activities' etc.

But as the days went on Iain and Phil challenged me to make more personal goals, like ones that would make a difference to me. They noticed I was running late sometimes because I always had to put my make up on and both of them spoke to me about this on our Tipi expedition since it was pouring down and I had mascara and eyeliner all down my face! I ended up realising I was using make up as a mask because I was insecure about my looks and never really felt myself unless I had make up on.

So I thought about it that whole day and once we'd settled into the tipi at night I announced that I was taking my make up off and I'm challenging myself to keep it off the whole trip. I got a big applause from everyone which I wasn't expecting but it made me want to do it even more. The first few days were hard as I was totally refusing to look at anyone or get my photos taken or anything but people were complimenting me more saying I had a good complexion, I looked more fresh faced and looked better without all the stuff! This made me feel great. I ended up not caring by like day 4/5 and was up for getting photos taken, I was smiling more and just felt a lot better. I lasted the whole trip and everyone was so proud of me which just felt so good hearing that from people.

All of my goals and skills were recorded on my feedback sheets and I do read them quite a lot when I'm at home.

If I'm feeling really down or I'm getting really negative with myself, which I do a lot, I bring out all of my sheets and give them a read and remind myself of a person I know I can be and it never fails to cheer me up.

It helps me reflect on how I overcame obstacles and challenges on the trip and how this can come into effect in life back home. It always boosts my confidence and makes me feel like I can achieve my goals if I just push myself and it always ends up better than if I stayed wallowing in self pity about things. I'm glad I have those sheets, I'll be keeping them forever!

My life would not be the same if I hadn't got involved with VT.

I was really upset about coming home [from expedition] to be honest. I was on the train back from Inverness with everyone and we were having a laugh and talking about the trip but everyone settled down after a bit and I pulled out my stuff that I was given like my feedback sheets, my diary and things and gave them a little read. I ended up crying a little, but it wasn't sadness it was more happiness and acceptance that I had managed to complete this challenge and I'd had a really great time and I was ready to start my new life.

When I got home my mum was so happy to see me and was so proud of me for doing it.

I seen my friends for the first time a few days later and they couldn't believe the change in me. They said I seemed so much happier, I was more confident and wanted to hear all about my time away. A few days later I had so many things to do like go for my college interview, apply for jobs and get more involved with things and I just seemed so eager to get on with it!"

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