We caught up with Reece, who from the end of September took on our new exciting and challenging role of Energize Apprentice.
Reece is working with the Energize team supporting our busy programme of schools work, activity clubs and holiday schemes and has already brought lots of enthusiasm and ideas to Acts Trust.
What was life like for you as a teenager in Lincoln? Biggest challenges, things you most enjoyed?
As a teeenager knowing there was nowhere to go or nothing to do led me to getting into a lot of trouble. I couldn’t get a job and ended up hanging out with a group my age, chilling, smoking and not caring much. I didn’t feel that comfortable though, and felt that I was going the wrong way, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it.
Growing up in Lincoln has some really good things though- there’s lots of good outdoor space and it’s not a big city so it’s easy to see people if you want to.
When did you first start getting involved in Energize? What do you remember from your first sessions?
I got involved with Energize about 7 years ago when I was 13. My first session with Energize was at Waddington. I came along with my cousin, and found it easy to make new friends. I suddenly found myself feeling more confident and able to speak to more people- I wasn’t like that before.
Sarah- the youth leader at the time- gave me lots of confidence and had a big impact on me. She really helped me to feel accepted and welcome regardless of what was going on in my life. Having someone who was outside of my everyday life who showed an interest in me was so helpful and Sarah was so kindhearted, straight talking and easy to relate to. She was exactly who I needed at the time and brought the best out of me.
What impact did this have on your life?
I grew in confidence to keep coming and eventually to step out and volunteer. This made me feel part of a team who had a positive influence on my life.
I found that I was always accepted and able to build new friendships with people. It also helped me to see what life is really about and understand there were some good things out there for people like me.
What was it about Energize that made you want to keep coming back?
The welcoming place each week, and having the same people keep coming back. This gave me confident, good role models to speak to about anything that was going on. I felt cared for and a real part of Energize.
Why did you want to start volunteering with Energize?
I started volunteering when I was 15, and helping with clubs and holiday schemes. I just wanted to me more a part of the Energize project and also to grow in leadership skills and voicing ideas, knowing this would make an impact on other people’s lives.
What have been your some of your most fun volunteering moments?
I like the challenging young people! I was at the Waddington club and there was a lad in the back room making other people feel really intimidated. It sounds strange but learning to deal with conflict was a really good thing for me.
But in terms of fun moments, I love summer schemes. We work on lots of estates around Lincoln running activities, sports, trips, water fights and inflatables. I was on the Birchwood estate and had such a good afternoon, and build a strong connection with some of the local young people on the estate.
What are you doing with Energize now? What are your hopes for this over the next two years?
I’m now, as of the end of September, working as the Energize Apprentice. This is my dream job. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, and over the next two years I’d like to learn how to have a positive, lasting impact on young people’s lives and create similar opportunities to the ones I had. After these two years, I’d love to work for Energize still as an Activity Worker- this is a great place to be and I love the work we do.
How can people get involved or support?
We’re always looking for people to volunteer with us- it’s a brilliant experience and was so good for me. (Get in touch for more info about this).
Also… we’re host a murder mystery night next Wednesday, 24th November! You can still book tickets here if you’re interested.