Trying Something New – How Would You Respond?

“Even though what you are about to do seems scary and sometimes impossible, it’s good to have a go. I’ve pushed myself and tried loads of new things. Looking back, it’s amazing what I achieved with The Youth Adventure Trust”.

Jessica, age 12, reflecting on her Mountain Camp experience August 2022

The summer of 2022 saw 120 new recruits aged 11 and 12ys old embark on a brand new adventure, the start of their Youth Adventure journey, a Mountain Camp in the Brecon Beacons. Here they would have the chance to challenge themselves, meet different people, develop confidence and resilience, and try something new.

As they packed their bags for the unknown, these young people undoubtedly experienced a whole range of emotions. Heading off for a week without their usual home comforts, familiar environment or people, and not even their mobile phone for distraction, would have certainly caused some worry. Throughout the programme we encourage young people to try new things, take on challenges, commit to seeing things through and have confidence in themselves. We are always so inspired to witness the courage young people show in the face of such challenges and uncertainty, embracing the opportunities, using the support available and achieving more than they thought possible.

At the Youth Adventure Trust we support young people to develop mental toughness, to better equip them to deal with challenges they face throughout their lives. By developing mental toughness through a focus on four areas (Confidence, Challenge, Control, Commitment), young people build their resilience to take back to their everyday lives and into their future. We encourage young people to adapt their mindset, embrace change or when things don’t go quite to plan, and work towards a perception of seeing a new challenge as an opportunity rather than a threat. We support them to set personal aims to focus on and strive towards whilst on the programme, helping them to achieve new things they didn’t think they could. Sometimes these challenges are about working with others, things not always going their way, being able to speak up and share their ideas, or not giving up when they are faced with the unexpected. Here’s some examples of the aims young people set themselves this summer:

“Use the ‘try-it’ attitude when I’m nervous and scared to do something”

“When I find it hard to stay focused, I will try counting to 10, taking myself away to a quiet place or breaking things down into small steps”

“I will try to think of other people and their feelings and say ‘I can’ rather than ‘I can’t’”

“Control my emotions and be more confident, not dwelling on mistakes”

“Don’t think about challenges as big scary things, think of it as one small thing at a time”

The summer camps provide a challenge-based platform to support young people to achieve these aims. Through the programme we encourage them to develop an adventurous mindset, forming the foundations to develop their self-belief, expand their comfort zone, have the courage to try and achieve more than they thought they could, and ultimately embrace challenges and the opportunities they can bring. As adults it can be easy to shy away from new challenges, and it’s interesting to consider how we would all respond to being put in these young people’s shoes. We could probably all learn a lot from their example!

“Trying new things not only helps us to vanquish those fears, but it also allows us to expand our minds and learn—both about said new thing, and about ourselves. And then there’s the rush. There’s nothing quite like—or as memorable as—the thrill of a new experience”.

Maggie Peikon – Wanderlust Journal 2022