Hi, I’m Anna from New Zealand. I came to the UK to take a gap year and have a break before I return home to start University. During my time here in the UK I have managed to have a taste of both a school and an outdoor activity centre placement with Lattitude and although I’ve definitely enjoyed both placements, I feel that the outdoor activity centre is definitely underrated.
Where are you currently volunteering?
I am currently at an outdoor activity centre called Blackwell Adventure which is about a 30 minute train ride away from Birmingham.
What do you do as a volunteer at an outdoor activity centre?
At this placement myself and 11 other ‘gappies’ spend our days leading outdoor activities such as zip wire, abseiling, rock climbing and many other team building and fun activities for people, varying from children to adults. A typical day would involve us leading around 3 activities to children using the centre and also completing any jobs that need doing around the site.
How does volunteering at an outdoor activity centre differ to working at a school?
To me one of the advantages of working at Blackwell Adventure is the amount of people at the centre with you. Compared to a school placement (where you will normally get 3 or maybe fewer gap students at one school), at the activity centre there are 12 of us, in addition to full time instructors that live on site. This makes the experience extremely social and enjoyable as you are around the company of fun people your age every day! You are required to buy and make your own meals at Blackwell – at first I found difficult but now I enjoy the freedom of choosing my own meals and when I want to eat them, compared to some schools where you get meals provided for you.
What have you learnt from working as an outdoor activity instructor?
At Blackwell I’ve developed my leadership skills more mainly due to the importance of safety needed at the centre for both yours and your customers’ well-being. I feel that this has made me more mature when it comes to leading activities as you always have to be aware and alert of what’s going on.
How will your experience as a Lattitude volunteer help you in your future?
I think that this placement will help me later on in life as I have fully learned a whole new career and now if I ever want to follow down this road again and become an instructor of some sort, I will have my experience at Blackwell to help me. I have also experienced personality changes that have happened to me for the better, such as becoming a more confident leader.
I definitely recommend working at an outdoor activity centre with Lattitude for anyone who enjoys the outdoors and being a leader – or even if your goal is to gain these attributes, an outdoor camp will push you to become a leader and gain confidence and independence like Blackwell has done for me!
Click here to find out more about our Outdoor Activity Instructor placements!