It’s that time of year again. For some it’s the end of the school year and the start of the long Summer holidays. For us, it’s a time for Goodbyes as we say a fond farewell to our Step Into The Gap participants (or Gappers, as they’re known) and our CAFOD Ambassador.To see how their year has gone, we called down to the Youth Village and asked a few searching questions and got some answers…
First up it’s Kat. One of our two Gappers, who went to El Salvador on her foreign trip.
Your favourite part of your Step Into The Gap role?
Meeting with the other Gappers, discussing plans and just spending time with them. They’re good craic. Of course, going to El Salvador was a favourite part too! I met so many inspiring people. I’ve loved bringing their experiences, including the work of CAFOD, back to the UK to share with our young people and parishes. Being able to be a part of CAFOD’s work, working to nurture our young people’s thirst to make a change, has been incredible. There’s so much that I can’t pin it down to one thing.
Your least favourite part of Step Into The Gap role?
What would you have changed over the last year?
I would have liked to work more closely with the local diocesan office to get a rounder experience of CAFOD, especially Connect2. Instead of completing a separate spreadsheet that others have to then input onto the CAFOD computer system, going to the office once a month to update our activity log may be preferential.
If you could leave a Post-It note for the next Gappers to find at the end of their first day, what would it say?
Enjoy it! Support each other. Keep in contact with each other between meetings. It’s an incredible opportunity you’re getting. Don’t forget that!
How do you think you’ve changed over the last year?
I have a deeper understanding of CAFOD’s work and values. I’m keen to live more simply (which is big because I do enjoy luxuries like a coffee on the way to work in the morning!). I’m still processing the trip to El Salvador. It challenged me and stirred a lot of emotions within me. It was pretty powerful!
Give 5 words to sum up the Gap Year experience.
Exciting, inspiring, challenging, fulfilling, (a) blast!
Give us one memory that sums up your time as a Gapper.
Working on the CAFOD residential retreats – both the adult retreat & the retreat for young people. I was able to share experiences from my trip to El Salvador. The adults could really relate to this too. It seemed like everyone wanted to do more for CAFOD. It was an opportunity to use our creativity in making new CAFOD resources and it was so much fun! The young people were really enthused!
Being with the other Gappers last weekend was another highlight. It was a real celebration of our year on the programme. We all left feeling really affirmed and excited to step into our next chapters. It was wonderful to see how we had gelled as a group.
What will you miss most about being on Step Into The Gap?
The other Gappers on the national scheme as well as here at YMT. 😥
How do you think Step Into The Gap has/will help you when you move on?
I feel that I’ve a good understanding of CAFOD’s work now, especially in El Salvador and I’ll carry on working to promote strong links between parishes and the global south. It’s not the end, it’s an exciting prospect. The whole year has given me food for thought and I’m excited to unpack more of this.
So that’s how Kat feels about the last year. Next up will be Julia in a few days time, reflecting on her year.