Capturing Lifelong Memories with Raleigh Costa Rica
Katie joined as a Volunteer Manager Content Creator and Photographer on a Raleigh Expedition to Costa Rica, from September to December 2023. As Content Creator, she met people from the Expedition and the projects her team were working on. She captured many moments that made the Expedition special. Here Katie shares her unique experience on her Expedition.
Why did you decided to join a Raleigh Expedition?
I’m a 23-year-old graduate from the UK. When I finished up with education in June it was quite daunting. A lot of people were either applying for full time jobs or travelling. I felt a bit stuck between falling straight into the working world or doing solo travel. I wanted an experience that had a positive impact and would allow me to grow both personally and professionally. When I found out about the opportunity to gather content for Raleigh’s social media platforms it made me really excited – it was the perfect answer for me.
What was the overall experience like as an Expedition Content Creator?
I’d often visit 2 to 3 projects per phase, meaning most weeks were completely different. At Fieldbase, during the induction and changeover between project phases, there was a lot to capture. From group debriefs, project (re)allocations, training sessions, energisers and evening activities there was always something going on.
Out on project, it was completely different. When I visited the communities, I captured the construction of two classrooms, as well as interviewing different volunteers and community members. On trek however, I spent a lot of time collecting memorable moments of the group travelling through stunning landscapes.
When I was in between projects, I would stay at Fieldbase. This was a time to utilise wifi. I would go over my content brief, prepare for the upcoming project and type up pieces for the website’s blog.
What did your role involve on a day-to-day basis?
I received a content brief from Raleigh which I would revisit every morning. Before the day began, I would plan daily Instagram uploads and check on the progress for different blogs and case studies. Sometimes, I would work with volunteers so I would use this time to check in on them and see how they were doing. The main aim was to capture the meaningful interactions between volunteers and local community members.
Throughout the day, I would document the team. I found it important to record memorable moments of everyone working together. Often, volunteers would get involved in TikToks or reels. These videos could range from dancing in football pitches, to motivational speeches at the evening debrief. Short form videos were great to use for daily reels whilst longer videos would be kept for the changeover slideshow.
I would also use my time on project to get to know the team. Part of my role involved interviewing different volunteers and volunteer managers. Often, these were the pieces that experienced the highest engagement on our platforms so I made sure to prioritise their uploads.
At the end of the day, I would organise all of the days content, whether it was from myself or videos sent from other volunteers on other sites. I would upload the best bits onto the Instagram story as part of the day’s summary. This was a fun way of highlighting moments from all the projects.
What was the best part about being Content Creator?
I really enjoyed posting the daily recaps on the Instagram story – it was really nice to interact with our Instagram audience. The interactions I had with family and friends of volunteers kept me motivated to post as much as possible – I knew how much they appreciated a glimpse into life here.
I was also in charge of the photo slideshow night, shown to volunteers during changeover. This was a really lovely moment for everyone to reminisce and share memories from the previous 19 days.
Were there any challenges?
Due to my age, I was definitely on the younger end of the team. At first, I was nervous about this, but I actually think it made me more approachable to the volunteers. I was able to take photos and videos not just of them, but with them. This was part of the reason why I loved being sent out on project so much!
What tips would you give to other Content Creators?
Record absolutely everything! Even the content that you think may not be useful, it could potentially be vital later down the line. Also, be organised with the media you gather. At the beginning, my phone was a swamp of photos and videos. However, after a couple of weeks in, I created a one drive for every group in each phase. I found this to be a great way of saving content off my phone. It also really helped later down the line when I started to think about case studies. I was able to go through all the content and easily find useful images of volunteers on trek, or working in community.
Content creation was a way for me to create a volunteer time capsule when they came out of project; I wanted to record everything. Often, the best content would come from the pieces that were volunteer led, so making sure to involve the group was always a priority.
My advice for future volunteers
Expect change. Life here is so different to all aspects of home. From the food you eat to the places you sleep, Raleigh will take you out of your comfort zone. It’s completely different to everything I’ve known and I’m so grateful I signed up when I did.