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Aaydah – Young Army Cadet

ACCT UK introduced and allowed me to take up a new and thrilling opportunity which taught me important skills and valuable life lessons.

14 September 2021

Matthew Bacon Bursary Fund

ACCT UK introduced and allowed me to take up a new and thrilling opportunity which taught me important skills and valuable life lessons. However, all of this could not have been attainable without the help, consideration and support of the Matthew Bacon Bursary which truly granted me to unlock my full potential and embark on an adventure I didn’t think was open or possible for me. I am genuinely grateful for my experience in Loch Eil and am incredibly fortunate to have been able to take part in the course. I want to thank the Matthew Bacon Bursary for making this out of reach trip possible for me.

Each day and each activity helped me take one small step closer to becoming more confident and the person I have always wanted to be. I didn’t think it would be possible for me, but as the days went on I learnt more about myself and what I can be capable of.

Receiving this prestigious award benefitted me and improved me in ways I didn’t think was possible. Enjoying and using this opportunity was a way for me to commemorate the life of Matthew Bacon who has impacted a life he may not even know about. I hope along the way I have picked up some of his skills too; such as his bravery and leadership.

Going to Loch Eil taught me to be ready for any surprises and try new challenges even if they were out of my comfort zone. For example, the first day I got to Loch Eil I was nervous in making friends or approaching people. However, the way I connected with my group wasn’t in a way I thought I would. In fact, the first day we got there we were greeted a warm welcome by our team leader then were told we were going to jump in a Loch. Although I was hesitant at first and making excuses to avoid it, I put my fears aside and with the encouragement of my group instructor Hannah, I was brave enough to jump in. The water was freezing cold but embarking on this adventure together with my group, taught me more about them than I would learn in a normal conversation. This also educated me on a saying that I was familiar with but never practiced or truly understood until now: go with the flow.

The next day we completed a challenge called Jacob’s ladder. This was the obstacle that definitely made me realise my resilience and determination. This activity featured a rather large ladder with massive gaps between. We had to climb up the ladder and I struggled immensely. After my first go, I gave up. Another instructor Maggie told me to keep trying and to not give up. I got back on the ladder with hesitance but with the support I was given and the kindness and patience shown with my team I was met with reassuring words. With that I reached the second highest step.

Later that day, we were greeted with a challenging hike to Rhu Point beach. Although the walk was endless, it was definitely rewarding. The walk was fascinating as being from the bustling city of London it was quite the difference to be in such a serene setting with goats and sheep walking around. As this was my first expedition, I learnt a ton of new technical expertise such as pitching a tent. I also built up my confidence by helping to set up to cook our ration packs. I was scared at first but with uplifting words I was able to complete the simple task. Jamie, who joined our group leader in taking us up to Rhu Point beach, made fresh bread for us which surprisingly tasted delicious. That night was the night I was met with such happiness and would describe it as the most euphoric night of my entire adventure at Loch Eil. It started by me and my group watching the sunset and throwing a tennis ball around to us climbing a small steep cliff and watching the stars. We laid there laughing until we couldn’t breathe and pointed out constellations. I had never seen so many stars sit in the night sky. We heard the waves crashing gently and as it got slightly colder we went back to our tents. It is definitely a night I will remember for the rest of my life.

On day four, nothing prepared us for rock climbing and the most fun yet terrifying of all, abseiling. With a quick walk up Ben Nevis, we strapped ourselves in to our harnesses and put on our helmets and were determined to complete our next adventure. It was a spectacular peak we had to climb up and I was frightened to. This was an activity I convinced myself I could not do especially because of my health needs. I tried to go rock climbing but I barely made it that far before I came down. I had convinced myself I would not be able to make it. However, I knew that although I went up a couple of steps, I did not try my best. I put my fears and worries aside. And although I was met with a lot of struggle, I knew I had to get through it. By shifting my mind-set, even though I was met with great pain, I was able to reach the top. I felt like I was on top of the world and nothing could stop me from achieving anything else. Later, we abseiled down a greater peak. I was so overcome by joy by my last obstacle of rock climbing that I went on abseiling with no worries. I had such a great time doing it that I asked to abseil again. And it was even more fun that the last time. I never thought I would be so confident in my skills.

There are no words to describe how the Matthew Bacon Bursary truly imprinted on my life. I don’t think I can ever give back to how much they have given me. The life long memories and interchangeable experiences are the things I will never forget.

I am truly thankful for Matthew Bacon himself for being such a brave soldier and his family for starting something so kind in his name.

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