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Youth Column: God Has Put Me On This Path

Youth Column: God Has Put Me On This Path

Monday August 14 2023

Layla Riddoch, 19, YMCA Tayside youth worker, shares her faith journey.


I joined the YMCA Tayside youth club at Craigie and Moncreiffe Church of Scotland when I was nine or ten years old. That’s where I met Matthew, who was the first youth worker I had known, and I very quickly started to realise that youth work was what I wanted to do.

I don’t come from a religious background, in fact my family were quite against it at the start. But through the youth club I started learning about faith and meeting Christians. Because the group was in a church building, sometimes we would go along to church, and we led a youth service once. But it wasn’t until I went into high school that I started having questions about faith and realised I really wanted to know more.

I did the Youth Alpha course twice – the first time mostly for the free food, and because it was an opportunity to hang out with Matthew! But the second time I had more of an understanding, so I could dive into it more. For a few years I grew into it, reading the Bible and becoming more and more intrigued by it.

Then I went through a really hard time in school when I was in S3 and S4, and in fact ended up moving schools. And when I was at my lowest point and realised I needed help, that was when I realised the things which Matthew had been telling me were all true. I asked God for help when I was feeling very low, and my whole life changed. I started going to church and something happened within me. I knew I had faith, and I was able to speak to people about it and tell my family.

The YMCA have really helped me to discuss faith and God, and how to pray, and all these things. The team are all Christians, and it’s been really helpful having their support and guidance. I had the chance to try all of their churches, and found one that I really like. My own family is not religious but with YMCA I have a Christian family and know that I’m not alone.

I’m now running the youth club where it started for me, as a colleague of Matthew. It’s open to everyone, but we do a ‘God slot’, which gives me a chance to talk about faith and the Bible with the children. It’s very light touch, but they all know that I’m a Christian and sometimes they come and ask me questions about it. I feel very privileged to be able to do this.

I have always been very grateful that I have known what I want to do in life. Most people my age don’t have a career they want to do, but I feel God has put me on this path. I love what I do and I am good at it – it’s a gift. I feel very lucky, and thank God that I am here.


Read more about the YMCA Tayside youth and community partnership in August's Life and Work.