When did you first visit Jamie’s Farm?
I first came to the Monmouth farm when I about 13. I really enjoyed Monmouth, it felt like a good one to go to as your first farm.
What were your thoughts at the start of the week at Jamie’s Farm?
I really didn’t want to go, my teachers literally had to drag me from the bus stop. It wasn’t really my type of thing, I always kept to myself, I always sat in my own little world and the people I was going with were people that I didn’t really speak to. It made me feel really anxious at the start of the week and I wasn’t happy the whole way on the coach, I just wanted to cry.
Did you feel differently at the end of the week?
I didn’t want to leave at the end of the week. When you come to somewhere new you’re really anxious because you don’t know anyone, and I thought there was going to be really strict teachers there, but everyone was really welcoming and so it was really nice.
What part of the experience did you find most challenging?
The hardest part was not having my phone. Before, whenever felt anxious or I was with someone I didn’t know, I always had my phone as a comfort so I could sit there in my own little world. I would just play a game because then I was more distracted by the game than what was going on around me. Without my phone I just kept fidgeting a lot. But when we first got our phones back, I just put it straight in my pocket, I wanted to keep enjoying what was going on around me. And now the only thing I use my phone for is for music and to check my emails.
What was your favourite part of the experience?
My favourite part was when everyone was sitting around the table after dinner and after the hike, it just felt like a big family. And when you had it for multiple nights in a row it was really nice – it was good vibes. We used to always play loads of games, I enjoyed Empire, we played it every single night, and also Uno. It was really nice because everyone was involved and positive about the game, even when they lost.
Did you notice anything different about yourself by the end of the week?
I feel like I was a lot more confident within myself. I would go out of my comfort zone a lot more. I think it was as a result of Jamie’s Farm staff pushing me to go out of my comfort zone because there was a lot of activities where I said I’m not doing that, like cleaning out the pigs, or the hikes (I would refuse to go on them), but a couple of the staff spoke to me about it and said ‘just try it, you’re never going to have to do it again’. When I came back as an Ambassador, I did every single activity that there was. I felt like it was a motivational talk that I needed.
Has the experience helped you with school?
It did, I was hardly attending school when I first came to the farm, which was one of the main reasons I came in the first place. When I went back to school I felt a lot more confident, I was actually going into school and I was completing my work – before I wasn’t completing my work because I didn’t feel confident that I was doing it right, I always needed reassurance. After I came back, I did a lot more work because I felt a lot better in myself about what I was doing. And I felt more confident in my work and passed all my GCSEs because of that.
What does being a Jamie’s Farm Ambassador mean to you?
It meant the world to me and it still does, because it changes you so much as a person. When you come here with your school, that little visit changes you a lot, and then when you come for multiple other visits, you find that by the end of it you’re a whole new different person.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m currently finishing my Level 3 in Childcare, and I’ve applied to do my Levels 4, 5, and 6. I want to be a primary school teacher; at the moment I’m a tutor and I really enjoy doing it, I would love to have my own classroom and work with children. I feel like children are a lot more positive and open minded at a young age, so you can have more open conversations with them because they are more imaginative about everything.
What advice would you give a young person who has been invited to come to Jamie’s Farm?
Even if you feel like it’s not something you want to do, definitely do it and push yourself. It changes you to a completely different person, in ways that you think that you can’t change by yourself. Every single activity you do, it makes you feel happier and more peace with yourself. Just forget about everything else and spend your time enjoying yourself and getting involved because it goes really, really fast.
Chloe took part in our 2019/20 Ambassador Programme. Our Ambassadors are a group of young people from across England and Wales, who have previously taken part in our standard programme and demonstrated exceptional potential. Over the course of 12 months, the group meet quarterly at each of our farms to provide us with constructive feedback on how to adapt and improve our programme, and we provide the opportunity to further develop their skills and deepen their engagement with Jamie’s Farm.