We aim to send as many young people as possible with staff, on outward bound type residential courses. We choose stimulating and challenging environments. The young people selected come mostly from pupil referral units and are often difficult to engage.
The courses have a diverse range of activities which can include abseiling, gorge scrambling, sailing, hiking, camping etc all run by professionals. The youth workers deliver evening workshops which engage and inform the young people with pertinent information in relation to cyber, drugs and safety issues. They also improve their social skills particularly when the use of mobile phone may not be possible!
They enjoy new challenges which help them to develop better life skills and improved self-esteem. They learn to work as a team, bonding with their contemporaries and staff giving not only a sense of pride but also trust within the group. For many of them it is the first time they will have stayed away from home and the courses really stretch the young people both mentally and physically.
The Key Objectives
An increase in Self Confidence and Self Esteem: Encourage and Ensure achievement: Promote and teach inter-dependence and teamwork: Introduce the young people to an unfamiliar environment: Promote the integration of young people from rival areas: Teach the young people to approach new challenges with a positive outlook: Foster the ability to develop and sustain effective relationships.
The young people have the option of combining the residential with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme and should gain the Bronze Award. They will work towards this award by completing the required Service, Physical Recreation, Skill and Expedition sections over several months. This includes a camping weekend which has to be completely planned and organised by the young. It is a fantastic programme for young people to be part of and an achievement many attending would not believe to be an option within their grasp – something for their CV.
Feedback from the Past
Leaving Battersea, many are nervous and apprehensive but they all return with very positive comments: “Thank you so much! Because of your funding I’ve been able to experience a learning curve that otherwise would not have been possible. I’ve met fantastic people, seen wonderful things and experienced the most thrilling adrenaline rushes so thank you.” One participant, should she wish, has been invited back by the organisers to learn more and be trained as a coach. The young promote the following year’s course to new participants. One said that it was ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity’ and it broadened their ambitions and horizons for the future. When asked what they did not like one young man replied ‘trip to short – more days!’ and another ‘dreadful food!’
Meetings are held with staff and young people after the residential to evaluate the trip and to discuss any changes for the future such as improvements to the food (!). Reports from staff include how their relationships changed with the young people and how they felt the courses benefited all including a different approach to some of life’s challenges.
Youth groups would not continue to request these residentials if marked long term improvements in the behaviour of those attending was not significant.
The cost of these residential varies between £350 to £550 per head dependent on the venue.
The young people are encouraged to fundraise and contribute towards the cost and help with the planning and organisation of the trip.
We feel this is real value for money when we see the great feedback from those attending both staff and the young people.