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"The best part is being part of a life-changing experience": Chris's Venturer Manager story

Meet Chris, Venturer Manager in Costa Rica.

Chris, a recent retiree and owner of a small sports therapy practice, recently returned from Costa Rica where he took part in a Raleigh Expedition from September to December 2023. As a a three-time Raleigh Venturer Manager from Warrington, England, Chris is a seasoned Raleigh VM who has previously a volunteered in Borneo in 2018, and again in Nepal in 2019.

Chris was a teacher and then a director of a provision for care and education for autistic young people. He is now retired and has a small sports therapy practice at home. Speaking from his community project, Chris describes his experience as a Raleigh Venturer Manager, where he has led three different groups of Venturers through community and environment projects, as well as a trek through the countryside.

What is a Raleigh Expedition to You? 

To me, a Raleigh Expedition is a unique opportunity to support and encourage very motivated youngsters to challenge themselves both in a community, and environmental project, alongside a trek.

I really like sharing positive experiences and challenges with the volunteers and it’s great to watch them grow and develop with their newly found confidence and successes. For me it’s also an opportunity to improve Spanish and to live and work in remote and beautiful Indigenous communities in Costa Rica.

What Does a Venturer Manager’s Day-to-Day Look Like? 

As a Venturer Manager, alongside my Co-VM, I’m responsible for the smooth running of the phase. The Venturers are encouraged to manage as much of the day-to-day running of the Expedition as they possibly can but the Venturer Manager needs to just nudge them from time to time to try and get them back on track.

It’s a very positive process and as a Venturer Manager you give a lot to the group and are rewarded with amazing interactions. All the Venturers are highly motivated and it’s a great joy to see them develop.

Do You Have Any Highlights From Your Experience in Costa Rica? 

There’s lots of positive points during the projects. For me, and on this particular project, highlights can include the simplest of tasks, such as creating that special dish that everyone enjoys from the most basic ingredients on a simple stove.

One of my personal biggest highlights is meeting the Venturers for the first time at the airport. It’s amazing to watch them as they grow in confidence and resilience during the phases.

Another memorable moment was on day 15 of trek; that first view of the Pacific was absolutely amazing. Also, reaching the beach on day 18 after trekking over 250 kilometres was a fantastic way to end my trekking portion of the Expedition.

As I come to the end of this particular community phase, it’s mind-blowing to see the (almost) completed construction of a community hall. The process of drawing and creating a mural on the side is going to stamp our unique style on the building and it will be very exciting to see that come to fruition.

What is Your Advice for Future Venturer Managers Looking to Sign Up to a Raleigh Expedition? 

I would encourage anybody to participate in a Raleigh Expedition. If you have an interest in youth development, then volunteer for Costa Rica. It’s an absolutely amazing opportunity and you won’t regret it. You will develop personally, and also learn new management techniques and skills.

From my point of view, anything that you give to your group of Venturers, you will be rewarded tenfold. The best part is being part of a life-changing experience, imparting life skills and enthusiasm to an already willing group of Venturers.

There are a number of different Venturer Manager roles available on our Expeditions in South Africa and Costa Rica. Find out more and sign up!

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