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Hi there, I’m Shona and I’m currently in my 4th year of Mechanical Engineering here at Strathclyde. I’ve been a volunteer for a number of years and it never fails to amaze me just how fun volunteering is.
Currently, I volunteer with the Scout Association as an assistant Cub Scout leader with 105th Glasgow, the Wick Heritage Society, the Strathclyde Piping Society and Strathclyde Piano Society.
At Cubs, I work with children aged 8 to 10 ½ each week, creating and delivering an exciting programme for them alongside leaders. We often work on developing teamwork and practical skills, and take them camping every summer which they really enjoy. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been using Zoom to host our weekly meetings. Although this has partially limited the range of activities we can do, we haven’t let it get in the way of having fun and learning more about the world. In June, the 105th Glasgow Scout Group held a virtual camp which we all enjoyed, and in August, we were joined on Zoom by some Irish scouts who I had met at an international camp in 2016.
I really enjoy working with the cub scouts and being able to give something back to the organisation that gave me so much when I was younger. A real highlight for me is seeing how far each child has come in their development and being able to help them on their journey.
As well as volunteering at scouts, I also volunteer with the Boat Section of the Wick Heritage Society in my hometown of Wick. Although the Boat Section is primarily involved with the preservation of the Isabella Fortuna, the oldest surviving fifie in existence at over 130 years old, we frequently turn our hand to any task that needs doing in the Heritage Centre or its harbour buildings.
Previous work we have completed includes the refurbishment of the old Wick Lifeboat Shed and its slipway, and more recently, the renovation of the once derelict Cowie’s Yard which will become home to some of the museum’s artefacts.
I really enjoy helping at the Society as you learn a whole host of new skills like welding and forklift truck driving, as well as hearing stories of days gone by from the other volunteers.
At university, I volunteer with the Piano Society as president and the Piping Society as founder and president. Both of these societies are a lot of fun and provide some much-needed musical entertainment in what is often a very hectic university experience. Through the Piano Society, we have previously been able to enjoy trips to the Concert Hall in Glasgow. Although we haven’t been able to do that this year, the show still goes on in the form of weekly Zoom meetings.
One notable event we held over Zoom last semester was our special guest evening where the renowned pianist, Peter Johnstone, talked about his experiences in music and where he plans to go on his musical journey.
The Piping Society is still quite young as societies go, as it was only founded in October 2019, but that hasn’t stopped it from growing in number during the pandemic. We have been hosting our weekly tunes on Zoom since September and are also getting some virtual gigs to perform at. These include a marvellous Burns Supper that we co-hosted with the Strathclyde Erasmus Student Network society.
Overall, I would highly recommend becoming a volunteer. Yes, it can sometimes be challenging and can frequently push you out of your comfort zone, but it is always worth it. After all, even a small volunteering contribution can make a big difference to the world around you.