Home > News > Nathan’s YMCA Journey

16 January 2020    |    General

Nathan’s YMCA Journey

I first came to Cupar Youth Cafe because I had heard about the LGBT group. Before I joined, I was terrified about being out about being myself in any setting.

On top of that, home isn’t really a place where I’m accepted for who I am and I really struggle with my mental health. I felt completely isolated and everything was getting on top of me.

From the moment I stepped into the Cafe, I felt like this was a place where I could be myself without the fear of being judged. My youth workers became the people I turned to when things got really tough.

“If it wasn’t for my youth workers, I honestly don’t think I would be here today.”

They took me under their wing, they created a safe space where I could process things. The group provided me with the support network that I needed so badly.

I was a bit older than a lot to the other young people in the group. I was actually closer, in age, to the youth workers so I naturally gravitated more towards them.

Over time, I took more of a leadership role within the group and when I turned 18, I started volunteering at the Youth Cafe. I helped out at the GrubHub where I made sure the kitchen was running smoothly.

I realised that young people found it easy to come and talk to me when they are struggling. So my role involves listening to them and signposting available support when necessary.

Although I’m only a volunteer, I feel like I’m an integral part of the team here. My ideas and contributions are valued and used. That’s helped me grow in confidence.

I’ve achieved much more than I thought I would ever do. Speaking in front of a group, supporting other people are things I never thought I would be capable of.

Being involved in the YMCA has been a route into other things too. A while ago, I started volunteering at other youth groups and even became a member of the board for Fife Pride.

And then this year, I was awarded the Young Person of the Year Award and the John D Know Award at the YMCA Scotland Award Ceremony. I just could not believe that I was even nominated. It meant so much to me that my achievements were recognised at a national level.

Everything I’ve achieved is down to the people who believed in me and gave me a chance to be my true self.

Share this article