Venturer flights home have landed.
VM wash up is almost done.
Kit has been cleaned and counted.
Radios have been checked.
Friend requests fly around on Facebook.
Travel plans begin.
Reality kicks in.
At the end of the expedition, I think I can safely assume that every single person who took part in Raleigh 12G&H is reflecting on what has been an AMAZING thirteen / ten / seven / five weeks.
It feels like a very long time ago that the convoy of buses came up the drive holding 126 wide-eyed, slightly scared and very excited looking Venturers, and in that time we have seen them grow before our very eyes.
We’ve seen them walk from one ocean to the other. We’ve seen them climb a volcano. We’ve seen them change the lives of whole communities and massively benefit the environment in Costa Rica.
And the VMs have been with them every step of the way providing help and support and enabling them, by the end of the expedition, to run the show themselves.
As Comms Officer and as a PM in the final phase, I’ve had the unique opportunity of conducting interviews with project partners, community members and venturers and also working on a full project myself which has fully confirmed for me the role of Raleigh as a youth and sustainable development charity.
This expedition has fulfilled both facets tremendously.
All the time whilst trekking 270km, helping to preserve a National Park, saving sea turtles, building a school, providing clean water and sanitation to remote communities in Nicaragua and running up and down volcanoes the Venturers have been setting goals, measuring themselves and developing as people. It’s not just about ‘helping others’, rather a mutually beneficial partnership.
And the communities and National Parks themselves who are massively grateful for the help they have received should also feel a massive sense of achievement and pride of how they’ve helped us too.
Each person involved in this expedition, whether they intend to or not, will probably end up doing something differently to the way they did it before, whether it be recycling more, getting involved in community and charity work or just simply having more fun and not worrying so much about the little things. Because we all have something to count ourselves lucky over. Not least the unique opportunity we have all had to change our lives and those of others on Raleigh.
And we haven’t half had fun! Friends have been made for life and we’ve laughed, cried and played games as well as grafting. As we all said goodbye the earth moved – and it wasn’t just the minor earthquake! These new partnerships are a force to be reckoned with and one day might just change the world.
This is 12G&H, listening out. Thanks for the memories.