My first major worry about being the deputy operations manager this summer 2017 was giving speeches. It shouldn’t have been nervous, I know. I wanted to give the young people a vision of how they will feel at the end of expedition, but how on earth do you put that into words and change those worried faces into excited ones.
So, during venturers’ induction the night before deployment I told them about my Raleigh experiences.
I have been in their position – sitting at the table at base-camp pre-deployment in 2007 as a medic, wondering what on earth was going on. Little did I know how inspired I would be by working with young people, how much I would fall in love with Borneo’s people and environment, how I would make friends for life (this October we have our Volunteer Manager 10 year reunion for Borneo Autumn 2007).
Following Raleigh 2007, I went on to work with young people for 9 years before I decided to come back to Raleigh Borneo again as a medic. This expedition was just as great but with positive changes. There is a clear focus on young people working towards sustainable development. Young people are seen as equals in their help and support on projects building solar panel workshops and gravity fed water systems. Again I fell in love with Raleigh Borneo, the permanent team, environment, people and even durian fruit.
That’s why I came back as the deputy operations manager this year. I knew I could assist more with the running of expedition, helping with the training, but most of all supporting the young people on their Raleigh journey. That’s what Raleigh is all about for me, working with such an inspirational group of young people.
So, back to the speech….. I said pretty much all of the above. There were a few tears, a few laughs and a lot of excited faces. Now I’m just waiting for the end of Expedition to see if they believed me. I’m pretty sure they will!