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Meet Our Supporters – Scottish Outdoors Youth Team

Meet Our Supporters – Scottish Outdoors Youth Team

01st December, 2021

My name is Emily and I’m the Founder of the Scottish Outdoors Young Team (SOYT), which is an online community for people living in Scotland aged 18-35. SOYT is a space for young people to connect with like-minded individuals with a passion for the outdoors. Primarily a Facebook group (now with over 1500 members), over the past 13 months since it’s conception, SOYT has grown arms and legs and now has communities of young people all across Scotland who regularly come together for weekend trips, activities and events – including our very first SOYT ceilidh, which took place on November 26th in aid of Scottish Mountain Rescue.

I created SOYT last October as a new university graduate smack-band in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. It struck me how difficult it is to meet new people who are keen for outdoors adventures once you leave the safety net of university clubs and societies, or if you don’t go to university at all. Many outdoor clubs for adults tend to be older people who are a different life stages or who have been doing the sport for an extensive period of time, and being a newbie in these clubs can be an isolating feeling. The pandemic has exacerbated those feelings of isolation for many of us. Social connection and connection with outdoor spaces are incredibly beneficial to mental and physical health, and SOYT provides a space to bring of those things together at a time when Scotland’s mental health is in crisis mode.

Ever since I created SOYT, there’s been rumblings of excitement for a ceilidh. If there’s one thing that young people love in Scotland, it’s stripping the willow with all your mates and comparing the size of your bruises the next day. It all came together pretty quickly – I found a date that the venue and ceilidh band could both make, I put the tickets up for sale (which sold out within 2 weeks!) and just like that – 140 Young Team members descended upon Edinburgh on a stormy Friday night to boogey the night away in great company.

It was an easy decision to choose to support Scottish Mountain Rescue with the profits from our ceilidh. It is the hard work of SMR that allows so many of us to get out and enjoy all that the Scottish outdoors has to offer, and we are incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful service there to help if ever we are in need.

The ceilidh could not have been more a success. After nearly 2 long years of the pandemic, big life changes and moments of mental health struggles for many of us, it was absolutely incredible to be back in the company of so many old and new friends. I was left pretty speechless by the level of enthusiasm and support that I got from all those who attended, and I couldn’t be more chuffed that what started out as a wee idea thrown about during a car journey with my best pal has ended up bringing lots of young people together from all across Scotland. SOYT wouldn’t be what it is today without the hype and enthusiasm of all its members. I can’t wait to see where SOYT goes in the months and years to come.

Want to find out more about SOYT?

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