The Power of Youth Volunteers

The Power of Youth Volunteers

Emily Cooper


Today, we are celebrating the power of youth volunteers!

Young people today are under a huge amount of pressure—whether that’s from social media, school, or the tiny matter of the global climate crisis... Despite this, they still find the time to come and fight for our rivers - and they do it all with a huge smile on their faces. Nurturing a generation of young people with a passion for the environment is one of our core goals at The Rivers Trust. We think that providing youth volunteering opportunities is a great way to help young people develop an understanding of the natural world. Volunteering has a whole wealth of benefits; it looks amazing on your C.V., it can help your mental and physical health, and you might even make some new friends along the way. That's not to mention the amazing impact your time can have on the environment! In order to find out more about what it's like to volunteer with The Rivers Trust movement, we spoke to one of our youth volunteers; Charlotte, a 17-year-old volunteer with Ribble Rivers Trust. Charlotte has been volunteering with the Trust for roughly four years, so she's a bit of an expert!
Charlotte Cootes Ribble Rivers Trust
Why do you like volunteering with The Rivers Trust? I like volunteering with The Rivers Trust because over the 3-4 years I have taken part, I have learnt lots of new skills such as the fencing, brash bundling, planting trees and leaky dams. I also had the opportunity to do a course on how to do river monitoring and now do this every summer for Ribble Rivers Trust. It gets me out in the fresh air on a regular basis, keeps me fit, and enables me to meet new people. I also find it satisfying to be part of a team that make a difference.

What would you like to tell other young people thinking about volunteering with our Rivers Trust? Just do it! Get involved and take part. It doesn’t cost anything except time, which is flexible, you do as much or as little as you want. You meet people from all different backgrounds with different stories and you make new friends. All of these people have knowledge that they can pass on to you and vice versa.

Do you have a favourite memory from volunteering with Ribble Rivers Trust? My favourite memory is tree planting at one of the many locations we’ve been to. I was walking through some rather thick mud and my wellington became stuck in the mud, yet my foot carried on leaving the wellington behind. I did the rest of the day with a very soggy sock and foot, but managed to help complete the target amount of trees to be planted...when I was doing my Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition we actually walked past some trees we’d planted the previous year and I felt really proud to be able to say to my friends “I helped plant those”.

How to get Involved

If you’re keen on volunteering, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Our Trusts run a range of events across the breadth of the country, and there’s bound to be something you can get involved with. Find your local Trust and join the fight to protect and improve our rivers.
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