Our catalyst voice this month is Mya-Rose who took part in our 2019 Catalyst Bootcamp and Mentoring programme. She is already having an amazing 2020, having just been awarded an honorary doctorate from Bristol University, the youngest person ever to receive this, in recognition of her work for racial inclusion and equality in nature and the environment.

“My name is Mya-Rose Craig, I am 17 years old and live in the Chew Valley just south of Bristol. I am currently in my second year of my A-Levels at Chew Valley School studying English Literature, Spanish and Media Studies.

My life revolves around my love of birds and wildlife, fighting to save our planet and everything on it as well as campaigning to make the environmental sector ethnically diverse and getting Visible Minority Ethnic (VME) people out into green spaces, engaging with nature. I have run 9 nature camps for VME children & teenagers since 2015, have organised two conferences, Race Equality in Nature, with Bill Oddie & Chris Packham as Keynote Speakers, given lots of talks and written lots of articles on these topics.

What would your dream job be?
To be a freelance wildlife/environmental TV presenter, writer, journalist, professional speaker or an activist and campaigner in the environmental, global justice and human rights sectors. I would also like to go into politics in the future.

Why did you come to the Catalyst Bootcamp?
I came to the Catalyst Bootcamp in order to build my skills as an activist and campaigner and to empower myself and feel confident in my abilities. I had been to a workshop previously and had gained a lot from it, in terms of practical advice on how to deal with and manage people I was interacting with, especially as a young woman. I have had a lot of personal attacks on social media, that boys doing similar work have not, and I wanted to build up my mental health resilience.

What was your overall experience of it?
It was absolutely amazing and something that has made a huge difference to me already. I think that it has made a massive positive impact on my outlook and given me the confidence to apply to Cambridge University, even if I do not get selected, I will be proud that I tried.

What three things did you like about it most?
The three things I enjoyed most were the tour of Pukka Tea offices, understanding that I am capable of what I want to achieve, and meeting all the other amazing people there with similar interests and passions to me, making me finally feel comfortable in my work with other people my age.

Has it had any impact on your day-to-day behaviour? If Yes, can you give any examples?
Since the end of the program, I have felt comfortable and capable, which was especially helped by the mindfulness, brainstorming, and Ikigai sessions. I have been more assertive in meetings and more confident in discussing the environment and sustainability with my peers.

What would you like to say to everyone who supports the programme?
I want to say thank you because it feels like something that was genuinely life changing and I’m feeling the positive impact of having gone to the bootcamp everyday. It was an amazing opportunity and I loved meeting women my age who support and uplift me. I now have a deeper understanding of myself and my goals in life, and feel prepared to set out and achieve them. I have learnt to be self confident and believe in my own value as a person.

If you were recommending it to a friend, why would tell them they should do it?
I have already recommended it to a friend who came to the same one and feels exactly the same as me about its impact on her life and the friendships she has gained from it. But I would definitely recommend it to my other friends too, telling them about how it is incredibly empowering and supportive, and gives you the confidence to go through life successfully.

To find out more and book a place on our 2020 Catalyst Programme visit http://bit.ly/catalystsummit20