Christina, a project manager at NHS Digital, has been involved with Ventures since she was 11 years old. She transitioned from a member to a Junior Leader when she turned 19, and is now one of the Overall Leaders for a Venture that welcomes 70 young people to a summer camp in Cumbria.
'Ventures have been part of my life since I was 11 years old, when I went to a camp with my sister for the first time. I loved it so much that I went back every year, and grew so much in my faith through that time.
'When I turned 19, the obvious step was to start giving back by volunteering as a Junior Leader. Being on the other side of the fence was strange at first, but I soon realised that being a leader is a whole load of fun too. Fast-forward another 8 years, and I'm now one of the Overall Leaders for the same camp I joined back in 2002.
'When I'm not volunteering for Ventures I work as a project manager at NHS Digital, improving GPs' computers. I find that a lot of the skills I use at work tend to come in handy when planning and leading a camp for 70 young people, and they've been really supportive of my volunteering - even giving me a couple of extra days off so that I don't have to use up as much annual leave!
'Volunteering for Ventures is great - the week of camp itself is utterly exhausting, but so rewarding at the same time. Seeing young people grapple with faith, step outside their comfort zone, explore what it means to live for Jesus, and make great friends along the way is such a huge privilege. Even when I'm just doing one of the many necessary admin-y tasks through the year, and camp itself is still months away, I still get a sense of joy and excitement about what God is doing through it.
'One of my favourite moments last year was receiving the leader application forms from our junior leaders - these were guys I'd seen grow up through camp, so to hear them express why they now wanted to come back and serve was so exciting. I remember sitting on my bed with my laptop and being brought to tears by some of the things they said.
'If you're thinking about volunteering on a Ventures or Falcons camp I'd say go for it. You'll meet some amazing people, see God work in remarkable ways, and find yourself doing crazy things for the sake of the gospel. Odds are, you'll never look back, and you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.'
Thinking of helping on a Venture or Falcon?