From the magazine: Hitting the high street
The following is an article from the latest issue of the CHICKS Magazine. The UK's most…Read more
Meet Caitlin Bucher- Flynn, who is in her last year of university and volunteered on a CHICKS break in March. Read on to find out why she chose CHICKS, what volunteering means to her and how you could make a difference to a child's life by volunteering on a CHICKS break.
Why did you want to volunteer for CHICKS?
I chose CHICKS after I got a proper insight into the valuable work that the organisation does. In the past, I have volunteered in many animal sanctuaries and similar settings, but I feel like volunteer work with young children in this way is a lesser known area of volunteering, but no less important. Also being aware of the issues that so many young people face, particularly from my mum's work in CAMS, it appealed to me to be able to help out to provide some positive experiences for young individuals who may be struggling.
What motivates you to volunteer?
It was obvious from my first interaction with the CHICKS volunteers and seeing the fantastic site at Daleside that there is a great deal of care and precious energy that goes into these breaks. The idea of creating memorable experiences was something I really wanted to contribute to (and of course, to have a lot of fun in the activities along the way!) These kids really deserve to have a lot of fun and to feel valued and looked after as they may have little opportunity otherwise. As a child, I was fortunate enough to share many happy experiences, and now I can see the real value of these, and how they can build on confidence and hope. Everyone deserves to have the opportunity to share in these indispensable experiences.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
The volunteering was ENORMOUS fun! There was never a dull day or activity, and it was so great to laugh with and encourage the kids to enjoy every moment. All the time spent with the kids was eye-opening and very rewarding, it was fantastic to see them letting go and relishing the moment, even maybe overcoming barriers to succeed in something they were more underconfident in. Volunteers truly have the best job - just cheering on and having a laugh!
What sorts of skills do you bring to a volunteering role at CHICKS?
Listening and steadiness I believe is key, allowing to create an atmosphere of calm and safety in which the kids can let go a bit and truly enjoy themselves. Approaching them with an open-mindset, with an encouraging attitude but a patient and a tentative listening ear really goes a long way for them to begin to feel comfortable and trust that they have adults around them who are respecting and attending to them.
What have you gained from volunteering CHICKS?
Volunteering has really given me insight into the complexities of interacting with younger kids. Having not had much experience with kids in the past, it was a real eye-opener for me, building my confidence and teaching me different skills, whilst challenging my imagination! I've learnt that sometimes the best thing you can do is throw yourself fully into an activity and show that if you can do it, they definitely can!
Why do you think volunteering is a good thing to do?
I cannot stress enough how monumental these breaks are for the kids. As a volunteer, you are in a position to give praise where its due and notice and encourage every individual for who they are, often something which they may not be used to, and this goes a long way in building their confidence. Being a volunteer also gives the kids a good adult role model, reliable, fun and respectful, which can change their attitudes and build on good behaviour through mutual regard. It's not only tremendous fun but it has the potential to create outstanding experiences for kids which they can take with them for the rest of their life, knowing they are valued.
We are currently looking for volunteers to help at our Daleside Retreat in Derbyshire from October 2019 onwards. If you'd like to find out more, give them team a call on 01822 811020 or click here.