Student Volunteering Week – Lauren’s storyThursday 23rd February 2017
Taking place this week (20th – 26th February 2017), The Boys’ Brigade, along with many other organisations is marking the Student Volunteering Week. SVW is a week that we celebrate the valuable volunteering youth work that many student provide while studying at college and university. Lauren Birney, 22, is a volunteer leader with the 4th Stirling company and former member of Enniskillen Methodist Girls’ Brigade in Northern Ireland. Lauren blogs on what volunteer youth work really means to her and how much young people can gain from the experience.
I grew up attending my local Girls’ Brigade and once I was old enough I began to volunteer within the youngest section. I moved to Stirling in 2012 for university and after a year of living here I realised I missed having the opportunity to volunteer with children outside of a school context! That’s when I had a look for local Girls’ and Boys’ Brigades and found the 4th Stirling BB, a relatively new and growing company looking for more people to help out!
Over the past four years, I have had a wonderful experience volunteering with the 4th Stirling. As the team of volunteers has grown and changed, it has been lovely to get the opportunity to work with a variety of people and provide a way out of the ‘student bubble’, which is so tempting to stay in while at university. Volunteering with The Boys’ Brigade has equipped me with valuable skills through training, but also through the week to week planning for Friday nights.
Although we work collaboratively as a team, I mainly work with the Anchor Boys, the youngest section for Boys in Primary one to three. We meet for an hour every Friday night and our evening is usually jam-packed with games, crafts, snacks and a Bible story. It has been so wonderful to see the numbers grow over the years. In fact, this September we started with four Boys and now we have 17 signed up to come on Friday evening!
It has been incredibly rewarding to see the boys enjoy themselves so much each week, so much so that our increase in numbers has been, without a doubt, down to the boys telling their friends and inviting them along! The Boys’ Brigade provides a valuable experience for the boys to relax at the end of the week with their friends but also gives them a wider perspective on life and equips them with skills that will help them succeed in all areas of life. As I move away from Stirling at the end of this academic year I will be incredibly sorry to say goodbye to the 4th Stirling Boys’ Brigade!
Lauren is just one of the nearly thousand young volunteers volunteering with The Boys’ Brigade in Scotland. Learn more how a little of your time can make a massive difference!