Vicki Sellick, who recently received an MBE for services to social action, has volunteered on SU sailing holidays for 20 years. She shares how she became involved, why it became her passion, and how it’s changed her life.
When I was 18, my teacher invited me to be a cook on SU’s Mallards sailing holiday on the Norfolk Broads. It was like entering a different world. The 1930s yachts had no electricity so we cooked supper on a little gas burner and sang Mallards sea shanties by candlelight. During the day, we’d be out on the water, revelling in the enjoyment of learning to sail, spotting birds in the reeds and listening to the songs of warblers.
But the greatest attraction was being with Christians from across the country, helping these young people to know Jesus and form a lifelong relationship with him. There was no polished spiritual programme – we simply shared in conversation why Jesus meant something to us and what he could mean to them.
"It’s been amazing to see young people give their lives to Christ or come back to Christ; to see them return year after year, their faith renewed."
One lad, whose parents weren’t Christians, had come on Mallards with his church youth group. During the week, he realised that Jesus wasn’t just a storybook character but real and present, someone he could have a relationship with. It was brilliant to pray with him as he chose to follow Jesus, and to witness God’s great peace descend on him.
Later I did a sailing qualification and, for a while, helped lead Mallards with a friend. It’s even how I met my husband! It’s been amazing to see young people give their lives to Christ or come back to Christ; to see them return year after year, their faith renewed. They’ve brought friends who have also become disciples and matured into young leaders, encouraging the next set of young people.
By giving you receive – and as an SU volunteer I’ve received joy, inspiration and made lifelong friends. Now, heading a social action charity, I’ve applied what I’ve learned as a volunteer in working with local communities, encouraging them to look out for one another.
Could you volunteer with SU?
If you’ve been inspired by Vicki, why not consider volunteering with Scripture Union?
Whether you are able to commit a week during the holidays, a regular day, six months or more, we have lots of exciting and life-changing opportunities!
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