Fourteen-year-old Rachel Allison had to make a whole new set of friends when her family returned from Kuwait. The RAF Shawbury Airplay group was there to support her as she settled in. She loves it so much she has now decided to volunteer to help the group.
My family and I moved to RAF Shawbury from Kuwait when I was 11, and the youth club on base was my first experience with one. At first, I was very shy and preferred to keep to myself – I had never been in such a social environment with so few people I knew.
However, after numerous on-base activities, such as a water fight (aided by the camp's fire trucks) and a laser tag night, I felt much more comfortable and happier than when I had first arrived.
Since, I have done many and more activities with Airplay, and the main take away from them has been a considerable growth in confidence.
Coming to youth club has introduced me to many new people I would never have met otherwise, (including indirectly allowing me to reconnect with someone I met in Dubai!) and has helped give me the confidence to talk to and connect with each one.
Currently, I am volunteering at Airplay for three months for my Duke of Edinburgh - although I will most likely continue coming, as volunteering has been a very rewarding experience. During this time, I have organised and run my own activities and given my own ideas for the monthly itinerary.
This included a 'Fun Fortune and Fantasy Games' night during October, where the youth workers and I each had our own activity where attendees could rotate around and have their fortunes told via palm reading and/or tea leaves. Or, in my case, have any questions answered via runestones.
Other activities I have taken part of was a Remembrance Day painting session, where we used our own stencils to create abstract paintings of soldiers for a wall display in our own way of celebrating our Armed Forces.