Just before the clocks wound back and winter descended, we were out and about running adventurous days across Wiltshire and Swindon for the young people currently on our programme. Although we see individual young people in between parts of the programme, this was the first time for the group to meet up again since their summer camps, so it was great to reminisce about their achievements and adventures.
We run a variety of different types of Activity Days, aimed at capturing the range of interests of our young people. During this half term holiday for our 2021 intake, choices included the opportunity to explore some of the woodlands of Wiltshire using GPS devices to track down challenges, competing against other teams to gain as many points as possible. These days are always a firm favourite with all sorts of challenges, from fishing for clues to finding hidden treasure! As well as being a lot of fun and time spent in wilderness, the days give young people the chance to practice teamwork and leadership skills, to negotiate, plan and problem solve.
Further days were held with the Wiltshire Outdoor Learning Team near Westbury. Young people attending these days had the chance to make their own campfires, complete treasure hunts, build shelters and test their camouflage skills amongst the trees. These days test young people’s resilience, tenacity and teamwork as well as creating memorable fun adventures.
A fantastic day of creativity was held at TWIGS in Swindon, where the young people prepared for Halloween by carving their own pumpkins, making seed bombs, and creating autumnal wreaths. Rather than waste the insides of their pumpkins they made this into a delicious soup with other ingredients collected from the garden. These types of days give Programme Managers plenty of opportunity for one-to-one conversations with young people, to offer a listening ear and some support where needed.
This half term in addition to the Activity Days for our younger group, our 2019 intake are now in the final year of their programme and came along to the first of their four Pathway Days. Each of the four days has a theme; Review, Give Back, Plan and Celebrate. So these first days were focussed on looking back over the journey young people have had with us, thinking about their development, achievements and experiences. This group had more to reflect on than most, with their Youth Adventure Programme having been interrupted and extended by the pandemic. Half of the day was spent reminiscing about adventures and achievements at both Mountain and Forest camps, as well as all the activity days they have attended with us. Many young people also shared fond memories of the support we offered over the lockdowns, including online mentoring, the Thrive Award and Summer of Adventure activities. With all this in mind, the young people worked on individual artwork that, when brought together, created a fantastic representation of their journey as an individual and collectively as a group.
The second half of the day was full of adventures with rock climbing, ultimate frisbee, and laser tag keeping the energy up, and allowing them the chance to have fun with the great friends they have made throughout their time on the programme.
After an action packed half term and with the darker nights drawing in, our attention now turns to planning yet more adventures and opportunities for our young people in 2022. We can’t wait!