Frontiers’ Volunteers: Setting sail for a cause 

Frontiers’ volunteers have always been at the forefront of community and societal responses. Ross McGlennon shares his experience utilizing his sailing skills for a unique volunteering opportunity. 

Photo credit: Ross McGlennon

What is your background and role at Frontiers? 

“Previously, I worked in the outdoor industry which allowed me to travel and experience new places. I spent one season working in Greece and then returned to Scotland to finish university. I joined Frontiers as a journal specialist and now work as a journal manager in health and biomed.” 

What does the organization you volunteered for do? 

“The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust (EMCT) run residential sailing and activity trips for young people in recovery from cancer. This gives young people the chance to socialize, regain their independence, and quite often, experience something new. The trips are always filled with fun, and opportunities to push your boundaries while forming new friendships.” 

Photo credit: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

What did you do during your time volunteering? 

“As a volunteer on a sailing trip, I helped to run the boat while the skipper ensures we make it to our destination. This involved hoisting the sails, making sure everything stays nice and tidy, and being willing to show others how to get involved safely. In the evenings, we cooked dinner as a crew and divided up tasks to ensure we all got involved. There is plenty of down time though and always time for a game of the famous Trust Uno!” 

What was your motivation for choosing this organization? 

“I chose to volunteer on a EMCT trip because you really get to see a change from the start of the week, when everyone arrives as individual strangers, to the end the week when everyone is one unified crew. The resilience and bravery that is always present on a Trust trip is obvious and makes it a really magical experience.” 

Photo credit: Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust

What did you learn from the experience? 

“As a volunteer on a Trust trip, I get just as much out of the experience as the young people taking part. I always look forward to competitive games of Uno or Articulate which often lead to lots of banter and camaraderie. With so many new experiences, you never stop learning on these trips – this time, I learned it’s near impossible to eat a sugary donut without licking your lips!” 

What advice would you give to those looking to get involved in volunteer activities? 

“There are so many organizations that rely on volunteers, so you’ll always find something aligned with your own skillset. Alternatively, it can be a great opportunity to learn something new. Volunteering is such a rewarding way to spend some time away from your screen so reach out to a local organization and get started!” 

What an exciting way to combine interests and make a difference! Thanks, Ross! 

Frontiers is a signatory of the United Nations Publishers COMPACT. This interview has been published in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

About Frontiers  

Frontiers is the 3rd most-cited and 6th largest research publisher. We publish groundbreaking discoveries by the world’s top experts. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Featuring custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 2.3 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.