Alice’s Story: The Art of Teamwork

Alice joined the Youth Adventure Trust as an engaging and chatty young person, but her school were concerned about her fierce determination to never work with others, and how she often misread social situations which had led to some bullying.

Alice liked to talk with enthusiasm and energy which helped her to quickly build a rapport with other young people in her group and the adults. However her chat mostly focused on herself, and she would talk at length at times without involving or showing interest in others, which was testing for some after a while.

Alice struggled with compromise and group decisions; she felt that others didn’t listen to her ideas or take them on board. As a result, she’d opt out, sulk or choose to do her own thing. By the April activity day, she was choosing to opt out of group activities before any frustrations or incidents could occur. This helped her to avoid getting upset or annoyed, but isolated her from the group and didn’t help her towards her aims of building social skills and working in teams.

It was at this stage that Alice’s Programme Manager decided to help her really focus on her teamwork skills by putting her in situations where she’d need to discuss ideas. We helped prepare her for these challenges, giving her ideas on how to lead a more collaborative group discussion, planning out how she could approach the situation, and what to do when she got frustrated.

A great chance to practice this was during the May activity day, where Alice’s team were tasked with planning how they could herd a group of sheep from one field into another. Alice put her ideas forward as to how to approach the task to her team of ten. She was clearly keen for the others to simply agree and implement her plan, but she listened to the ideas of others and showed respect for the opinions of the other young people. Alice was able to practice having a group discussion involving putting her ideas forward and taking ideas from others. Her previous complaint that no one listens to her was not voiced on this occasion. The sheep herding was of mixed success with the tactics they deployed, it turned out to be harder than it looked, but was enjoyed by all!

Over the next few activity days, Alice continued to work on her teamwork skills and her Programme Manager checked in with her regularly, recognising and praising her efforts.

In August Alice attended the Resilience adventure in the Wye Valley; a two-day overnight trip involving canoeing down a river, trekking into the woods and building a shelter to sleep in, cooking meals over a campfire, followed by some hiking and cave exploration. Initially she set out to make her own shelter in the woods, then on reflection joined up with three other girls, waking in the morning to share stories of nighttime unidentified forest noises and creepy crawlies with a huge smile on her face! She had not only proved to herself that she could do something a little scary – something that she previously would have refused to do – but she did it alongside other young people as a team.

Alice fully engaged in the Resilience Programme and got so much out of it, attending every activity day and completing all of the Takeaway Challenges in between – a series of tasks designed to build on the learning from the theme of the day. She achieved her YAT Thrive Award in her own time too, completing the three elements of Challenge, Create and Volunteer.

At the end of the programme, Mum commented:

Alice has greatly improved her social skills, she’s less emotional and has benefited from all the support YAT has given her.

It has been great to see Alice learn and develop, focusing on using her natural personality strengths in a positive way to build and maintain friendships, and to play a key role in leading and participating in a team. These experiences have shown Alice a different way to engage with the world around her, building new successful skills to ensure she fulfils her potential. We have every confidence Alice will continue to thrive and we look forward to keeping in touch and hearing what she’s up to in the future.