In September 2007 my son started secondary school & got involved in Rock Challenge®, to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to what it was until the following year. The school Liaison Teacher made an announcement that she needed help to paint set, so I decided to go along & give her a helping hand little did I know that that was the start of my involvement with Rock Challenge® & the Be Your Best Foundation. That first year, my involvement was very much in the background as I wasn’t sure what the whole “Rock Challenge®” thing was about. Then the big day was here, off we went to our local heat; set, costumes, props, make-up & kids in tow, everyone getting more excited the nearer we got to the venue. As we entered the building the whole place was buzzing, vans were being emptied, set was stored, kids were jumping & dancing everywhere, I was beginning to wonder what I had let myself in for!
Rehearsals began, then the morning production meeting, that was when the whole place erupted & everyone when wild. I was quite nervous & very self-conscious, not knowing what was about to happen. I had a reputation in school of being a bit strict but the atmosphere helped me relax & be myself, which came as a bit of a surprise to quite a few people & they realised that I could have fun. After that the day went pretty much the same as any other event, it ended all too soon but I knew I would be back as I’d had the most amazing day. The next year I was involved right from the start, I even joined the supporters group, became the teacher in charge of the stage crew, was this the start of my addiction? Probably! I even began to look forward to the production meetings, still hiding at the back for teacher’s one though. Our performance this time got us quite a few awards & a place in the final at Grimsby. The bug was well & truly taking hold!
By now just taking part at my local event wasn’t enough, I enjoyed it so much I wanted to do more. My son had already begun volunteering at our local events & mentioned that he would like to go to other events, so we decided to volunteer for a few of Scottish events. I was a bit apprehensive as I didn’t know anyone apart from the “crew”, but after speaking to some of the other volunteers on the volunteer’s Facebook page where everyone seemed friendly, I began to look forward to it. When we arrived everyone was very welcoming & made us feel right at home, just like one big happy family. That week I met some of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of calling friends.
My 2nd year of volunteering I decided to join the accreditation scheme which means I had to complete certain tasks; such as collecting the schools in time to perform (runner), helping on the merchandise desk, to helping with admin, backstage & looking after the school liaison teachers over a number of event days to earn your bronze, silver & gold award. I was presented with my bronze award at my local event later that year. Being a volunteer you get to continue your Rock Challenge® experience after you leave school without the stress of performing & see what it’s like to work in different venues with professionals. It is such an amazing thing to be involved with as you get to see some fantastic performances & very talented young people doing something they enjoy & having fun.
For me Rock Challenge® isn’t just about a drug free high, it’s been more about giving me the opportunity & confidence to try things that I otherwise would never have done, getting involved has opened a whole new world & given me the chance to meet some fantastic & amazingly talented people. It gave me the confidence to overcome my fear of motorway driving so that I could attend the National Final. During my 10 years of being involved with Rock Challenge® I have made lifelong friends, gained confidence & challenged myself to try new things, I look forward to every event that I can get to & I am no longer bothered about making a fool of myself on stage…it’s all part of the fun. I feel very privileged to be part of this fantastic organisation that give young people in our country the chance to be all they can be.
Thanks for reading & if you are in any doubt about being a volunteer, I would say “just do it, you won’t regret it!”