Last year, Caitlyn Ross won CVS Falkirk’s Young Volunteer of the Year Award 2021. Caitlyn has done a lot of volunteering starting when she was a teenager, so we got in touch to see what she’s been up to since last summer.
When did you first start volunteering? How did you hear about it (through school, a friend, parents, etc.)?
I first started volunteering when I was 16 years old, if not younger, at different sporting events and with the Brownies as a young leader. I heard about all the volunteering opportunities through the different sports that I participate in and through the different organisations as they asked if I could help at events for younger children, and that’s where my volunteering journey started.
I have had many volunteering roles and loved every opportunity to help and give back to my clubs and organisations that have helped me throughout my life.
However, one of my favourite highlights of volunteering happened throughout lockdown. During lockdown I have been doing a challenge from the very first lockdown to all the restrictions were lifted with Police Scotland’s Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics team and other LETR teams around the world, and other Special Olympic athletes around the world too. I have met so many new friends through doing the #10aDayTilItsOk challenge. This also led us to joining and taking part in a Global Torch Run where I joined the LETR team and went round some of landmarks around Forth Valley, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Linlithgow and South Queensferry. Doing mini torch runs around these landmarks and meeting up with Special Olympics athletes from around Scotland to take part to make one big torch run for the global torch run. It was an amazing experience and helped with my confidence and self-esteem again that helped me get back to my volunteering roles after coming out of lockdown.
Where do you volunteer currently? What do you enjoy about it?
I currently volunteer with Active Stirling, Braveheart, Clackmannanshire Council, Falkirk Community Trust, Forth Valley Disability Sport, Girlguiding (Brownies), Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Scottish Disability Sport, Scottish Athletics (officials), and Scottish Darts.
I enjoy volunteering at all these organisations as I love seeing all the smiling faces from the participants and being able to share my knowledge to everyone, as everything I do for these groups is my passion and want them to experience the same amazing opportunities as I did if not more.
Do you have a favourite volunteering memory? Tell us about it in as much or as little detail as you like.
I have loads of different memories from all different events like for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, I went to the Police Academy at Tulliallan and did a speech in front of all the police officers in training and some of the ones high up in the force about my Special Olympic journey and then a photo shoot in front of the castle in the grounds.
Another memory I have is from the Brownies where we took the girls to an Alice In Wonderland tea party, and they had to find clues for the scavenger hunt and just seeing them all working together and having fun. It was amazing to see as they all had smiles on their face and laughing away.
As you are a young volunteer, you have also been able to achieve Saltire Awards certificates for your dedication to volunteering. Do you think the Saltire Awards are a good incentive for other young people to volunteer?
Yes, I have Achieved over 500 hours in the Saltire Awards, and I feel like it’s been a great way to keep motivated especially if you are having a hard time and to see how many hours you end up building up in just a short period of time. It not only makes you feel great about how much you are helping at different events or clubs but gives you self-worth and wanting to do more volunteering. It also gives you something to work towards as you set goals to try and reach the next certificate.