By Richard McLauchlan (Head of Mentoring at Castlebrae Community High School and co-founder), and one of our mentees.
It's easy to pass through school passively, making few real decisions that reflect who we are and what we'd like out of life. Classes come, classes go; break-times come, break-times go. Life flows on. Once those days are behind us, it's a bit of a shock to discover that the things we desire for ourselves don't just float into our hands. All of a sudden, we need to exert ourselves if we want to make things happen. We need to be empowered.
At LUL, we're keen to promote the active pursuit of dreams from as early as possible. That's why, when one of my football-keen S3 pupils asked how he should spend his birthday, I asked him if there was anything he really wanted to do.
"I'd love to get a tour of the Hibs stadium," he said.
"OK," I responded, "do you know anyone who has contacts with the club?"
To my surprise, he said he did. "Right, then. Why not give them a call?"
It was the student's turn to be surprised. He hesitated. "What? Just call him and ask him?"
I thought about it for a moment. "No harm in asking, is there?"
But don't let me spoil the story. Here's the student's account of what happened:
"Richard and I were trying to get a trip to the Hibs stadium as a tour and I phoned Scott Frazer, who has contacts at Hibs, from the Jack Kane Centre and he said he would get in contact soon with details. Two hours later he told me to phone him, so I did and he said he had brilliant news and said I was going to the Hibs v Aberdeen game as a flag bearer. I was shocked, surprised and a bit teary because this was a brilliant offer. So on the 2nd of February I went to the game and got a picture with the mascot and got to say 'Hi' to all the players. It was amazing that I got to go on the pitch and see in front of me all the players walk out and the fans in the stadium. It was a brilliant experience for me as a diehard Hibs fan, but unfortunately we lost 2-1. Still, I had a great time. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had."
It will come as no surprise that 'passive' is now one word that you would never associate with this particular student. He's subsequently been in contact, quite independently of LUL, with a host of youth football clubs seeking trials, one of which has already proved successful. He's also already planning work experience opportunities and thinks nothing of running off an email to those who can "make things happen". When we sat down last August for our first session, he had no email address. Setting one up together - such a small thing, but actually so empowering - was one of our first activities. The active pursuit of dreams is now, for this young man, a reality.