Every day this week, we're sharing a profile of one of our incredible volunteers. If you're feeling inspired, learn more on our Volunteering webpages.
Volunteer Area/Type: Borders – Youth Groups
Volunteer Anniversary: May 2015
Escaping a house party of monsters whilst teaching young people how to play dungeons and dragons is just one of the many sessions that Borders volunteer Nate has led.
They first started working with young people when they began volunteering with us in Edinburgh in 2005. When life took them to the Borders about a year and a half ago, they started working with our youth group there.
Nate started volunteering with LGBT Youth Scotland as, “I really felt like I wanted to do something for my community and especially young LGBT people. I had reflected that when I was a teen, there was nothing near me in the small town in the North of Scotland that was like LGBTYS".
David Shields, our Youth and Community Development Officer in the Borders said, “Having Nate join the Borders has been a wonderful and beautiful experience, Nate brings a huge amount to not only the young people and the group but the other staff and volunteers here in the Borders. Nate is the rainbow in our group".
When Nate started training, they had not been involved in youth work previously. They found it “really informative, covering a range of topics that provided good grounding for working with young people.” When the formal training was complete, Nate moved into a youth group and “learnt so much from not just the staff but also the young people – there was a whole wonderful new language for identities that I’d never heard before even as a liberal and out queer person. Working with the young people taught me all these different ways to talk about identity and the people we love, it was amazing".
One of the group's young people said, “It's so great to have someone who is, like me, non binary as a volunteer here and they are super awesome which is even better".
Nate has found their youth groups, “recharge my queer batteries” and “helped me develop a better understanding of my own identity as a trans nonbinary person".
Sometimes our young people will be going through a difficult time and Nate is right there with a supportive ear. Nate said when this happens, “we have a good system whereby each of us will check in on a person who is working 1-1 with a person in that situation and so it was managed with support from the rest of the [local] team to a good outcome".
David continued, “I personally have learnt a huge amount from Nate about bettering my understanding of non binary people and creating that safe space to learn".
If you’re thinking about volunteering, Nate says, “Absolutely do it! You won’t regret it! It is a rewarding and enriching experience, and a wonderful way to support our community".
When Nate is not playing dungeons and dragons in our group, you will find them in a patient-facing NHS role or tending their garden with the help of their husband and their cat Pyewhacket.