David’s Story: the start of a big journey

David was referred to the Youth Adventure Trust in 2022 by his school who felt the programme would give David the opportunity to have time away from a very chaotic home life and afford him the chance to broaden his aspirations. David has a lot going on at home. There is a restraining order in place against his birth father due to safety concerns. David’s stepfather is unwell and now receives care in the home. Both David’s siblings have additional needs, which can be draining for him to live amongst. As a result of all this he has had a fairly sheltered life and his Mum is understandably very protective and cautious about allowing David the freedom to explore the world.

David’s school hoped that the Youth Adventure programme would allow him some time away from home, a chance to grow and flourish, and develop his own self-worth.

Before David was due to attend his first day, his Programme Manager spent time talking with his Mum, going over the practicalities of the programme. It was clearly difficult for her to allow him to attend the residential parts of our programme and it took plenty of time and patience to reassure her that David would be well taken care of whilst in our care.

In July 2022 David attended his first day, the Explore Day, with trepidation but also excitement. He found all of the activities challenging and relied on adult support for much of the day. Within his group, David made some new friends and as a result, we began to see him open up more as the day went on.

A few weeks later David attended the first of the three camps on his programme, the Mountain Camp. Again David was very timid during the activities. Having expected this based on his Explore Day, Youth Adventure Trust staff planned for a volunteer to be in David’s group who had experience and patience in helping young people who were less confident at the activities.

During the camp David’s Programme Manager sent some messages home to let Mum know how David was getting on. She replied; 

“So glad he decided to do this. We are all really proud of him. Grateful to all of you for the opportunities you’ve given him.” 

There were moments on Mountain Camp which David found particularly challenging; the mountain expedition where he had to carry all his own equipment on a long day hike and camp remotely in the Welsh hills; a canoeing session which as a non-swimmer who had never been in deep water, was a real leap. In moments such as these David could be quite negative and self critical. However, with Youth Adventure Trust staff and volunteers supporting and encouraging him, David was able to complete all the activities and challenges he faced during his time at Mountain Camp. Through doing so, David began to realise that he is capable of more than he had ever previously realised. He grew in confidence, made new friends, enjoyed the time away from home, and started to look at life with a more positive mindset, seeing challenges as opportunities rather than threats.

In October 2022 David attended his first Activity Day and really enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with familiar faces from camp. He is now eagerly looking forward to 2023 and the rest of his Youth Adventure Programme. 2023 will be a big year for David, with two residential camps and a host of Activity Days throughout the year. During these camps and days David will face new experiences and challenges. With the support of Youth Adventure Trust staff we are sure he will be able to take on these challenges and continue the development we saw on Mountain Camp. The programme will show David he can do more than he thinks, supporting him to embrace opportunities rather than being fearful of all new things, paving the way for a more positive approach in his future life.