What youth volunteering has given me

Livia and members of the Outdoor Learning team

I started off as a Young Ranger in 2017 when I was 15 (I was one of the original Young Rangers). I live in the North York Moors National Park and joined because I love the outdoors and wanted to do some more work outside and to help my community and National Park.

From my very first session I tried to do as many Young Ranger sessions as possible. From dry stone wall building to bracken bashing and litter picking, to working a few times at Beyond Boundaries, and assisting with activities at the Mela in Middlesbrough.

Lord Gardiner In 2018, I met Lord Gardiner (Minister for Rural Affairs), to talk about the Young Rangers and the National Park. I was absolutely thrilled to be one of two Young Rangers chosen to represent the North York Moors National Park at the Europarc Young Ranger camp in Estonia in 2019, and later went to the first UK Young Ranger camp in the Peak District. At both camps I learnt so much about the different National Parks, not only in the UK but across Europe. These opportunities have enabled me to make many friends – locally, nationally and internationally, many of whom I am still in contact with.

I became a Young Ranger Leader when I turned 18 and have helped out on a couple of Young Ranger residentials and other volunteer days. I also am one of the founding members of the North York Moors National Park Youth Voice Council with which I have tried to help inspire other young people to experience the countryside I love.

Livia appearing in poster regarding litter During 2020, I helped the National Park and Cleveland Way create some videos for visitors to inform them of the wellness and wellbeing opportunities available and how to protect the countryside when walking, (#TakeAnotherStep). I also did some poster work about similar topics working with Defra UK. Due to Covid19 and my starting University (studying Costume Interpretation with Design), I was unable to volunteer as much as I used to and it is something I missed greatly.

I absolutely love historic fashion but I try to keep the my work as ecofriendly as possible. One of my essays concerned rural sports and much of the initial information I learned from a ranger day at Bransdale Moor. I gained a contact at the outfitters who supplies the gamekeepers uniforms and was gifted some quality scrap tweed fabric to make my own tailored jacket. I also source a lot of fabric from charity shops and use it to make the undergarments for my projects.

Livia in tweed jacket I have now graduated and plan to continue volunteering while also looking for a job in the costume industry. I intend to keep reusing and reducing what I use for my different projects, wherever possible. Following on from this I would like to learn how to spin my own wool to use the two fleeces I bought from a local farmer for my final major project which I didn’t end up using. I hope to continue volunteering for the National Park and help with the Youth Voice while building my own career.

I have had so many opportunities as a Young Ranger and Young Leader and this year have a further opportunity to go to the Europarc Conference in the Netherlands. I have also been asked to be a judge for Ryevitalise Community Arts Commissions & Bursaries awards for local and regional artists and creatives. This is a really exciting opportunity, and I am looking forward to contributing to the process.

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