This case study highlights the importance of volunteering to maintaining and enhancing people’s mental and physical wellbeing. Being part of a team, contributing to improving the environment and enjoying physical activity in the outdoors are all part of staying healthy and being happy.
Read Emma’s case study below.
Emma’s two words to describe being a Volunteer Ranger: Inspiringly awesome!
Emma began her journey with the National Park Volunteer Ranger Service in 2014 and has been enjoying volunteering with us ever since. This is what she says:
‘I applied to become a Volunteer Ranger when I was not able to work due to depression. I was struggling to leave the house and was going through some counselling. I mentioned to my counsellor that there were volunteering opportunities with the National Park but didn’t feel confident enough to apply. She convinced me to apply and supported me through the application process. I had always wanted to be a countryside Ranger when I was younger and although I didn’t feel confident or think I would have any chance of being accepted I was encouraged to go for it’.
Emma was invited for an interview at the National Park headquarters and her welcoming smile and warm personality soon won her a big welcome as Volunteer Ranger. She started her training in January 2014, got her new uniform and was invited along to the induction day to learn more about the role and what it entailed.
‘I was so excited when I got my letter saying that I could be a Volunteer Ranger – it gave me a lift and I remember smiling all day, I had to read it over and over to believe it’.
‘I can recall feeling really nervous about the induction and training, it felt like starting a new job! I was not really sure if I would be good enough or if I knew enough about the National Park. Soon, however, I found that everybody was feeling the same and the excited nervous energy made for a fabulous day. We met the existing Volunteer Rangers and some of the National Park Rangers and soon felt part of the family.’
In the years since those nervous first steps Emma has gone from strength to strength and become a really important part of the Volunteer Ranger team. She has been involved in many interesting projects and tried out almost every duty that is on offer to the Volunteer Rangers, exploring the whole National Park and inspiring our visitors to do the same. She loves to attend events (especially those with cake) and help people enjoy the landscape, culture and history of the National Park as much as she does.
‘Being a Volunteer Ranger has greatly improved my confidence and my mental health has massively improved; I really look forward to volunteering with the National Park and can’t wait to get out again once a day is over’.
‘I have learned so much during my time volunteering, and been involved in projects such as nest monitoring and have led the induction days that I was once so nervous about. The whole journey has been fantastic.’
Emma has grown immeasurably since becoming a Volunteer Ranger. She glows when she is in her uniform and enthusiastically shares her experiences via social media (receiving lots of comments, likes and love hearts in the process). Emma’s volunteering activities have now spread further and she now also enjoys leading walks with the Scottish Women’s Walking Group. Emma loves learning new things and has tried new experiences such as Paddle Boarding and Quad Biking that she might not have enjoyed before.
In the future Emma would love to continue to be a Volunteer Ranger and when the winter comes she can’t wait for the next season to come around with the new ideas and innovations for the volunteer team.
‘I love taking on new challenges and gaining new knowledge. I am involved in developing training for our volunteers and we love coming up with new ideas to try and new trips for the volunteers to go on.’
Here are Emma’s three reasons for volunteering:
To find out more about volunteering in your local area check out the Volunteer Scotland website: https://www.volunteerscotland.net/.
If you would like to volunteer with the National Park or our partners, please complete the register of interest here.