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'Mountain Man' youth worker comes out on top at national youth work awards

Posted on 13 Jun 2024

North Ayrshire Youth Services have shared their congratulations this week to Ross Muir, Duke of Edinburgh Coordinator – a winner in the annual Youth Link Scotland Awards.

Nominated by his colleagues and young people for his work with the Duke of Edinburgh Award outdoors, the local ‘Mountain Man’ scooped the coveted Outdoor Learning and Environment Award at the annual Youth Link awards ceremony.

Held on Wednesday, the annual award ceremony is a celebration of the power of youth work across Scotland.

His colleague and nominator Donna Anderson, Youth Participation and Democracy lead was delighted at Ross’s win for the outdoor learning category.

Donna said: “We are absolutely over the moon that Ross came out on top last night.

“Ross is North Ayrshire’s very own mountain man and he is so driven and passionate about helping young people to conquer their barriers.

“Making connections outdoors is so important to him and is central to his work. His love for the outdoors really is contagious.

“I nominated him on behalf of Youth Services because his hard work and commitment to outdoor youth work opportunities and the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme has been unsurpassed.”

Ross has over two decades of experience and has supported thousands of young people over the years to unlock their potential outdoors and make a lasting impact in their local communities.

In the last year alone, he has supported over 400 young people in delivering over 5,000 voluntary hours locally, including foodbanks, charity shops and ASN sports support.

He has also championed outdoor expeditions, identifying exciting outdoor activities like mountain-climbing and orienteering, and is always on the look-out for more ways that he can harness the power of youth work to give back to local communities.

Donna adds: “We are immensely proud of him and are delighted he won!”

Head of Service for Connected Communities Rhonda Leith added: “Ross’s passion for the great outdoors and youth development has earned him the coveted accolade. He continues to be a source of inspiration for to us all and we are delighted that he has been recognised at a national level.

“Through his leadership, young people have been able to discover the transformative power of nature, gaining essential life skills along the way.

“Ross has also had his own health obstacles to overcome and so serves as a powerful role model to the young people he works with, sharing his own personal experiences openly to empower others.

“He is a true embodiment of the Council’s values of focus, passion and inspiration and we are so grateful to have his expertise on board, leaving a lasting legacy across North Ayrshire’s six localities.

“On behalf of everyone at North Ayrshire Council, I would like to share a huge congratulations to Ross on his momentous achievement.”

Now on a plane to Germany for some well-deserved time off, Ross said, “I am still absolutely in shock to be nominated, so to have won the Outdoor Learning category is just unbelievable. Thank you so much to everyone for their support, what a brilliant start of the summer for me!

“There were so many inspirational people at the ceremony, it was amazing just to be sitting alongside them and listening to their stories.

“The focus for the Duke of Edinburgh over the coming year and beyond is to keep promoting and offering the Award to as many young people as possible.

“A huge thanks to Donna and all the leaders and young people who have supported me. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with all of our school coordinators and youth workers locally to help young people across our six localities to realise their potential. They are the ones that keep the Award alive here in North Ayrshire and who continue to put us on the map in this important area of youth work.”

The Duke of Edinburgh Awards offer a wealth of exciting development opportunities for young people to learn new skills and realise their full potential.

For more information about the Duke of Edinburgh programme and other youth work opportunities, visit the Youth Groups and Organisations Council webpage or the Duke of Edinburgh Award website.