Gemma Stenhouse is our latest Doer of the Month, having raised over 100 pledges for the MAD Seat Challenge in July.
“WTF is the MAD Seat Challenge?!”, I hear you asking. It’s the latest event hosted by MAD Challenges, challenging participants to hike up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh as many times as they can in 24 hours. Lewis Breen smashed the record this year, making 48 swift ascents. Madness.
Meanwhile Gemma, Supply Chain Manager for APUC, smashed records in her own way – raising 109 pledges in support of her marathon hike. That comfortably earned her the title of Doer of the Month, scooping a year’s supply of Ben & Jerry’s fairtrade ice cream. We caught up with her to find out how it all went.
Hermione (HT): So you were taking part in the MAD Seat – what on earth made you sign up to such a crazy challenge?
Gemma (GS): I have a passion for sustainability (and apparently punishing myself) and I thought the Do Nation Pledges idea was a fantastic way to get people thinking about it – and the challenge seemed mad enough to convince people to pledge!
HT: For sure! And how did you hear about it?
GS: I’m part of the Climate 2050 Group’s Young Leaders Development Programme and we were given a presentation on MAD Challenges at the induction evening. It sounded like a fab event for a fantastic cause.
HT: You raised over 100 pledges, that must have taken some serious determination. What made you so determined to ask raise support through Do Nation?
GS: Our planet and its inhabitants are very important to me and it is crucial that we protect its future. Every action counts and the pledges are a great way to engage people in everyday actions that are more sustainable (and often save money or are more healthy too!)
HT: What was the most surprising or exciting pledge someone made?
GS: I was surprised by a few of the pledges – I got a few vegetarian/vegan pledges which is impressive, along with a pledge to half the number of cigarettes someone has which takes commitment! Also my family’s efforts to cut out disposable water bottles is fab (they loved their bottled water!)
HT: The challenge itself – how did it go? Highs and lows?
GS: Highs – definitely the people, the amount of food I got to eat, the sunrise and…. The end!!! Lows – About 3 in the morning is when it hit hardest – it dark, you hurt, and you still have soooo long to go.
HT: Keeping going through that must have required grit and stamina – what motivated you to keep pushing on?
GS: Definitely thinking about all the pledges everyone made, the messages from friends and family, and my Grandad’s motto “Good better best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better best!”
HT: That’s a fab motto! So, once done, how did you celebrate?
GS: Beer, food, flip flops and SLEEP!
HT: Finally – any top tips you’d share with someone else raising support on Do Nation?
GS: Don’t be afraid to be passionate and ask people twice! If people see it is important to you they’ll often support you. Also pointing out the benefits and impact their actions will have is a great way to encourage people.
HT: Thanks Gemma – all around fantastic work. We’re full of awe and huge gratitude.
When not scrambling up and down Arthur’s Seat, Gemma can be found treading the boards with “The Bohemians” in a musical theatre production.
If you’d like to support her, it’s not too late. You can make your pledge for Gemma here.