The bigger the challenge the bigger the achievement

By Levi and Carrie, from the Police Scotland Youth Volunteers Cumnock

PSYV 2016 2

Before embarking on our Skills for Life Award we were both very anxious. We didn’t know who we would meet, the challenges that lay ahead or the struggles we would face. All we knew was that there would be 54 other people in the same situation as us when we got there.

The journey to the centre was daunting in itself, although we had visited Loch Eil the previous September with our Police Scotland Youth Volunteer (PSYV) group, we knew this would be different. 19-days is a long time and we knew that this would be an even more challenging experience.

What kept us going was the knowledge that we had earned our place on the Award with a scholarship and how proud our friends and family would be once we completed it.

Upon arriving we instantly hit it off with some new people, including those taking part in different groups and even some who would be there less time than us. Before long we were soon divided up into smaller groups or ‘clans’. Over the next 19-days our clan would become our family. Supporting us when we were feeling down and driving us to succeed and achieve when we faced difficult challenges.

Psyv 2016

...And boy did we face plenty of challenges. Whether it was during our canoe journey or hiking on-foot, our clan-mates were always there to help us overcome any bumps in the road.

The expeditions were definitely the hardest thing either of us have ever had to do, our clans were tested and relationships were strained, but we all came out if stronger. 

After our first practice expedition we both felt ready to go home, we even called our parents and were seriously considering giving up. But after everything we’d gone through and everything we’d learned we convinced each other to stay and complete the rest of the Award with new-found determination.

We both knew the Skills for Life Award was going to be a struggle, but that it would also be worth it. Throughout our time we taught ourselves, and each other, that what we were going through was necessary, that to achieve our goals, we had to achieve what we originally thought would be impossible.

Since returning home there has been a few days that we’ve both felt that familiar struggle, whether it be at school, work or at PSYV. To get through those moments, we like to quote our Course Director Lisa who recited every day “the bigger the challenge the bigger the achievement”.

As a result, we both find little bits of what we learned at Loch Eil creep into our everyday lives. Things that we were taught by our instructors and things we learned by working as a team. The Skills for Life Award and everything it taught us will be forever stuck in our minds.

When people ask me about Skills for Life there is always one question that I can't quite answer: They ask “Would you do it again?” And in my heart I honestly don’t know, sometimes my answer is a joking “NEVER” and sometimes I’ll say “I wish I could be back there right NOW”. Levi
The three weeks I spent at Loch Eil Outward Bound centre were the best three weeks of my life (so far). Because of the people I met and the different challenges I faced, I have been inspired to go on creating new adventures for myself. Carrie