UK Rock Challenge Ambassadors Blog: 2016

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Volunteering with Rock Challenge® helped me choose my career path...

In 2013, aged 14, I started volunteering for the UK Rock Challenge®. I decided to start volunteering because I loved coming to the event days with my school and I wanted to get more. Volunteering is such a fun thing to do for various reasons. Initially, it feels kind of weird because you can go through a whole Rock Challenge® day without having to rehearse or perform and despite this missing part, you still have just as much fun (if not more because there is less stress).

As a volunteer you have the benefit of being able to try your hand at many different jobs over the event days from being a runner to selling merchandise to looking after the judges and VIPs on the night, something that can definitely teach you a lot of these 'transferable skills' that guidance teachers like to speak about. It really increases your confidence and time management as well as giving you experience in working long hours in a fast paced environment. All of these things are super great for your CV or personal statement when applying to jobs and higher education. 

The variety and challenge of volunteering is further increased by the accreditation scheme which basically encourages you to fulfil many different roles as a volunteer. You have to have completed a range of tasks to achieve the bronze and silver levels and you can gain a gold award by planning something that 'goes the extra mile' for Rock Challenge®. I gained my bronze volunteer award in my first year of volunteering and just this year became one of the first volunteers in the country to achieve the silver accreditation levels, currently working on an idea to go the extra mile for gold! Having an achievement like that as a volunteer provides a clear distinction of your dedication to your voluntary work, another thing that helps on the employability front. 

Aside from the administrative benefits of getting involved with such an amazing cause, volunteering is super fun. You have the chance to make friends with so many people who also care about Rock Challenge® as much as you do, and are mad enough to travel all over the country to show that. You get to take part in the production meetings which is always really fun, especially Right Type of Mood and the craziness of stage craft and merchandise modelling. It's not often you find something so beneficial and unbelievably fun.

The more I volunteered, the more I wanted to be involved and I began to think how cool would it be if this was actually my job. It combines both organisational and business type skills along with theatre and it provides such an amazing opportunity to young people (as I know first-hand). I started looking into events degrees in Scotland and we went from there. Having the Rock Challenge® experience from volunteering was definitely a beneficial addition to my personal statement and along with my grades at school I was able to secure 5 unconditional offers and I now study Festival & Event and Marketing Management (BA Joint Honours) at Edinburgh Napier University. Currently in my second year and still volunteering for Rock Challenge®, I am grateful for the practical knowledge I have unconsciously gained through my involvement in the events and totally credit my involvement in Rock Challenge® for my choice of career and what helped me get into the course that will hopefully lead me into a happy events career, maybe one day with Rock Challenge®! Thank you to the Rock Challenge® crew for providing me with so many opportunities that have really shaped my life.

Big RC love, 

Katie D

Monday, 19 December 2016

My Rock Challenge® Experience

Hi all!

So I finally got round to writing a Rock Challenge® Blog, So let’s start with a little bit about my experience and how I got to become a RC Ambassador. I started at school, a little over 11 years ago now, as a back stage member. I watched my teachers, fellow students and team slowly bring this 8 minute performance to life and when I first got in to it, I thought, 8 minutes, how hard could it be? Well how wrong as I! Yes, 8 minutes, which took approx.. 8 months to create, from lighting design, video design, costume design, choreography, drama, backstage props and set elements, I never expected there to be so much involved and there was and whilst it seemed a staggering amount to do, the team pulled together and we created our first RC performance as a school. We were wholesomely proud; we took it to our local event at Grantham, where we watched seven other teams perform absolutely amazing pieces and had the time of our lives. We didn't win... or come close... but we didn't care, we took part and tried our best.

During my final year participating for Rock Challenge®, the RC team told us all about becoming a volunteer with RC and how to apply - The next year I volunteered at my local event, which I then volunteered at for three years (described as a "one hit wonder" by one of the Rock Challenge® team, which I thanked them for, despite being unsure if it was a compliment or not.. I think it was?) Last year, I branched out (yes, oooohhh branching out!) and volunteered at Grantham, Rotherham and Grimsby Northern Finals! This year, I am volunteering at six events across the UK over 14 days and am already more excited for them, than I am Christmas!

I hear you say... Why volunteer for Rock Challenge®? Why is it so good? Well, I'm oh so very glad you asked... During my time volunteering over the past 4 years with Rock Challenge® I've had the amazing opportunity to work with a team of professionals to produce events and meet some amazing people. From inspirational teachers to talented students, from the Rock Challenge® team to energetic volunteers. I've been given the chance to learn what goes into the production of the shows and everything that goes on behind the scenes to make Rock Challenge® such a fantastic experience overall and a fantastic day for everyone involved.

I think the best part of volunteering overall is the chance to see and be a part of how Rock Challenge® changes lives for the better. The events are essentially about reducing and stopping young people getting involved with drugs, alcohol and smoking. A scheme which is at the heart of everything the Rock Challenge® and Charity; Be Your Best Foundation does. Volunteering for Rock Challenge® is something I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who is interested in seeing how Rock Challenge® achieves this in such an awe-inspiring way.

Thanks for reading! I apologise for the mildly lengthy post and shall try to promise any and all future posts will be shorter... (Notice, the use of the word try.) 

Bye for now


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Robert (Bobby) Holmes
Bobby started his Rock Challenge® journey, performing with his local school and assisting the back stage team. He then progressed onto leading the stage crew, designing and building sets, costumes and organising all back stage elements for his schools productions. Not wanting to leave the Rock Challenge® family, Bobby opted to volunteer at his local events and has now decided to become a Rock Challenge® Ambassador. Bobby believes Rock Challenge® is a vital part of school life, which everyone should have the opportunity to experience and so wishes to use his new status as a Rock Challenge® Ambassador to promote the benefits of Rock Challenge® in his local area. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Karen Mackay
Karen has been involved with Rock Challenge® for 10 years. She started supporting Rock Challenge® as a parent of a participant before taking on the challenge as a teacher. Wanting to take on a wider role within Rock Challenge® Karen soon became a volunteer and Regional Representative. Karen believes Rock Challenge® had enabled her to build better teacher-student relationships, and cannot wait to cheer on the schools at the Northern Premier Final this year and have the chance to meet old and new friends. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Emma Marshall
Emma has been involved with Rock Challenge® for over 13 years. Emma started her Rock Challenge® journey as a teacher, leading her local school in their Rock Challenge® performances, before being asked to assist other schools in the local area. Wanting to expand her knowledge of the Rock Challenge® Emma elected to volunteer at other events including; Dundee, Grimsby, Milton Keynes and many more. Emma Loves the wide variety of friends she has made through Rock Challenge® and is most looking forward to the J Rock™ events stating up in Aberdeen this year. 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Anja Johnston 
Anja Participated in Rock Challenge® for 6 years whilst at High School, gaining an insight into operations behind the scenes, with set crew and costume design, as well as taking to the stage herself to  perform. Wanting to remain within the Rock Challenge® group Anja took on the position of Regional Representative within the Highlands and Islands. This year Anja decided to go one step further and applied to become a Rock Challenge® Ambassador. Anja hopes to Increase public awareness within her local area, of the amazing work that Rock Challenge® does with the Youths of the community. She hopes to put the Highlands and Islands on the Rock Challenge® map, making it the go to event.  

Friday, 18 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Emily Dimino
Emily started her journey with Rock Challenge® in 2013. She worked as stage crew behind the scenes with her local secondary school before becoming head of wardrobe for their 2014/2015 Rock Challenge®. In 2015 Emily began volunteering for Rock Challenge® before applying to take on the role of Rock Challenge® Ambassador this year. Emily credits her heavy involvement in the Rock Challenge® as the reason for her love of music and performing arts. Emily is currently studying Music at the University of Nottingham, and can’t wait to begin tour this year to meet new people and see others enjoying Rock Challenge® as much as she does. 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Katy Bowman
Katy has been involved with Rock Challenge® for nearly 10 years, from performing, to assisting stage crew, to volunteering with her local school. Katy has also applied to volunteer at 3 other events this year to gauge an insight into the scale and variation of the events. Katy can’t wait to get started this year as a Rock Challenge® Ambassador, and hopes to raise awareness of the Rock Challenge®, and to encourage more schools to get involved, allowing students to be part of this amazing experience. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Millie Page
Millie competed in her first Rock Challenge® production whilst at high school before continuing her involvement at college. After college Millie attended the University of Chichester and is now a dance graduate. Wanting to put her dance and theatre skills to use, Millie joined the Rock Challenge® family as a Regional Representative and volunteer, and is now one of our amazing 2017 Rock Challenge® Ambassadors. Millie is so excited to be part of the team and can’t wait to see what 2017 brings! 

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Chloe Jarvis
Chloe is currently studying Musical Theatre at the University of Portsmouth. For 2 years whilst at school she participated in the Rock Challenge® before deciding to continue as a volunteer for the past year. Chloe is looking forward to obtaining a job in the performing arts industry and will ensure she remains involved with Rock Challenge® as it is an amazing experience which means so much to her. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Meet Our Ambassadors ...

Katie Daniel
Katie has been involved with Rock Challenge® for 8 years. She has not only performed with her own school, but also got involved with costume design, choreography, set design and has been volunteering at many events since 2013. Katie is now studying Marketing Management at University, a subject which she became interested in due to her participation with Rock Challenge®. Katie has made many lifelong friends through Rock Challenge® and can’t wait to begin promoting the amazing event, and fantastic opportunities on offer through her role as a 2017 Rock Challenge® Ambassador. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

8 Minutes to Change a Life …

Every year a national performing arts competition is put in place to promote healthy lifestyle choices and a drug free high through performance, with the main aim to inspire, engage and motivate young people to make healthy and positive lifestyle choices.

So many young people these days are led astray by the world around us. Drugs, alcohol and tobacco play a destructive role in leading young people into making poor life decisions that will affect their future.

The Be Your Best Rock Challenge® provides an escape, a safe haven where like-minded individuals can come together and express there wants, needs or concerns through a powerful live performance.

Schools have the opportunity to perform live on a professional stage whilst encouraging an Adrenalin-based high that can be experienced through performing rather than using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.

So if you had 8 minutes to change a life,  would you?