You will take valuable life lessons from this that will actually help you in the long term in the real world, you may not realise it now, but you will in the future, just like I did!
Caitlyn started the Youth Adventure Programme in 2016 and finished the programme in 2018. She was referred to the programme through Wiltshire Young Carers at a time when she was struggling with the transition to secondary school, mainly because of her mental health which presented as anxiety. Making positive friendships was also difficult for Caitlyn when she moved up to secondary school and she was put forward for the programme in the hope that she’d gain some much-needed confidence, self-belief and resilience.
Two years after the programme Caitlyn started to reflect on her journey with the Youth Adventure Trust. Caitlyn put her thoughts onto an email and sent the following through to us (February 2020).
Benefits of YAT:
It’s always been easy for me to back out of activities and say no to everything, but everyone, including staff and my team mates pushed me to step out my comfort zone to do things I’d never get the chance to do again. I was able to meet lots of new and amazing people who I quickly bonded with, both inside and outside of the programme; most of whom I still talk to today!
Every outing was different and exciting, and it always felt like an adventure, there is never a dull moment with YAT. Everyone at the Youth Adventure Trust took mental health seriously (Anxiety based for me) and were incredibly supportive and calm which meant I was able to really enjoy my time because I felt safe, understood and welcomed.
I have taken some valuable life lessons from my Youth Adventure Trust experience such as resilience. Having resilience means anything that happens inside and outside school or at home, becomes much easier to deal with. The ability to bounce back from a difficult situation is incredibly important in day to day life; you never know what will happen. Being pushed to try new things becomes a very important skill when it comes to challenges you face in life, like interviews or exams! It is also really beneficial when meeting new people and going to new places, especially for me because anything new or different used to make me feel very anxious.
Advice for newcomers:
TALK, TALK AND TALK. Talk to your teammates, leaders and to the YAT staff. If you have problems, a worry or something that is on your mind, the leaders are extremely good at helping. I’m sure whatever it is, the leaders have heard it before so they will be able to work with you to find a solution to the situation. You can use them to your utmost advantage (BE NICE TO THEM) as they are a bunch of incredible people.
Make time to bond with your teammates and fellow campmates because the more involved you get, the better your experience will be. Don’t be afraid to have a laugh! Take part in all the activities, even if you are so scared, trust me you’re in very safe hands! Honestly, you will regret not doing it, push your comfort zone. I did this programme coming up to 2 years ago and there are things that I still regret not doing to this day.
The Youth Adventure Programme will be the best time of your life. Take my word for it. I was a moody teenager who thought the world was trying to attack me and I loved every single second of this programme. The challenges and activities are things you may never get the chance to do ever again and the friends you make will be the highlight of your programme. You will take valuable life lessons from this that will actually help you in the long term in the real world, you may not realise it now, but you will in the future, just like I did!
Plus, who can say no to marshmallows and a sleepover in a tent under the stars!?
Thank you for a truly incredible life changing experience, I can’t wait to come back and volunteer when I’m older and have the opportunity to give back to an amazing organisation that helped me so much when at a time in my life when I really needed it.