February’s volunteer of the month is Get Out, Get Active activator Turgay Demir! He volunteers on the GOGA programme, assisting in the running of trips for fellow students to the amazing countryside right on our doorstep.
Which volunteering programme are you on & what does your role involve?
I am on the GOGA hiking/walking volunteering programme and I have been volunteerıng wıth GOGA since 2016.
How much time do you commit to volunteering per week and how do you manage this alongside your studies?
I spend almost all my Saturdays every week with GOGA during the month. This is quite a manageable activity for me. Because, I am a PhD researcher and a teaching assistant. Therefore, getting out of Leeds at least one day a week helps me to refresh my mind in terms of my mental health and it also motivates me to focus on my routine research and teaching studies. Having plenty of oxygen around the Yorkshire countryside, meeting up with new people and especially making new friends from all around the world are other incentives for me to manage my time and studies.
What made you want to volunteer?
I first joined a GOGA trip as a participant and experienced meeting with new friends and refreshing my mind by going somewhere different from where I live and this made me want to volunteer for GOGA and do something for others.
What is the best thing about volunteering?
For me the best thing is the opportunity to meet with different people from various historical, cultural and educational backgrounds all around the world and recognise and understand their cultural aspects.
What are the challenges?
Everything has its own challenges. For GOGA activities, sometimes participants might not listen to your advice about the trip route which sometimes might be geographically challenging or steep and this could affect the time management during the trips. However, I love challenges and more importantly I love volunteering with GOGA and helping others. Therefore, feeling a bit tired at the end of the day is the only challenging part for me. In general, personally I love challenges and these are manageable challenges for me.
Would you recommend volunteering to others?
I would definitely and wholeheartedly recommend others volunteer, especially with GOGA. You are not just discovering new areas of the world and meeting new people, you are also discovering new personal skills such as leading, coordinating with others, group work and time management.
How does it feel to win Volunteer of the Month?
I am quite happy with such a result. Normally, I do not want and do not like advertising what I have done. But if others appreciate your work and they choose you to be volunteer of the month, it is an absolute pleasure and nice to be recognised for my work as I mostly spend my free weekend time with GOGA during the academic year. GOGA is a lifestyle- only such a lovely programme can bring such lovely project leaders, activators, volunteers and participants together who have totally different backgrounds in the picturesque setting of Yorkshire and beyond.
‘Turgay has been a dedicated GOGA volunteer for many years now. He has assisted several of our walking trips and is knowledgeable about the local area so he regularly steps up to lead one of our walking routes. His passion for walking and bringing people together is evident in the way he engages participants and other volunteers. Turgay is a valuable member of the GOGA team and we’re very grateful for all his work so far’ – Kate Petty, Physical Activity and Wellbeing Officer.
If you are interested in any of our volunteering roles, have a further look on our website.