A Summertime Challenge Outward Bound Course That Will Give You Skills For Life
A challenging new course, run by The Outward Bound Trust, is making waves this summer in wilderness areas across the UK. The 19-day course, designed for young adults undergoing the transition from school to college, university or the world of work, has received enthusiastic feedback from its participants so far. 77% of them said it has increased their confidence in teamwork, communication and leadership skills, while 75% reported greater openness to new experiences.
The course focuses on skills such as emotional control (71% improvement) intellectual flexibility (66%) and resilience (64%), skills that are becoming recognised as invaluable in the 21st century by university admissions officers and employers alike.
Outward Bound® courses are well established and well known for their emphasis on challenging outdoor activities in beautiful parts of the UK but the Skills for Life Award takes things to another level. The course combines teamwork with individual endeavor, and physical challenge with emotional and intellectual development.
As well as experiencing gorge walking, hiking, climbing and an overnight camping expedition designed to push individuals to the very boundaries of their capacity, participants aged 15-19 also spend time alone in order to reflect and take stock of their personal development and to appreciate their natural surroundings.
In this situation, the youngsters don’t spend time glued to their mobile phones or screens, but in a field with nothing but a pen and paper. At the end of the challenge, they produce a bespoke Transition Toolkit, including a Personal Development Plan.
Bare statistics don’t really capture the experience of undertaking the Skills for Life Award though - it is much better to hear it from the young people who have already benefitted. For instance, an inspirational example is Rukayyah Yusuf, now aged 19. Ruky, a student at Windsor Girls School, came to the UK aged 14 as a Somalian refugee. She had no family and was unable to speak English but her determination to improve upon her predicted GCSE grades of E and F won her a funded place on a Skills for Life course.
“Everything we did on this course was extremely challenging for everyone, but within every single task there was a message to be considered, a lesson to be learnt and skills to be taken that will stay with us throughout our lives. We learnt about independence, confidence, self-belief, and team work. One of the big lessons I learned was not to be afraid to overcome your fears because if you keep going you can conquer your fear.”
This positive and lasting impact is echoed by Harriot Denham, who was attending Roedean School at that time. Harriet suffered from poor organisational skills linked to her dyslexia, and had been through a number of difficulties at home during her parents’ divorce. She was also moving to a new school so was feeling particularly lacking in confidence and apprehensive about the future.
But the course transformed everything, and Harriot gained enormously from the overnight expedition in particular, where she discovered skills she didn’t know she possessed, shining in a team work situation. This aptitude and her positivity more than made up for her dyslexia. As Harriot explains:
“I came home from the Outward Bound course a different person. I am a stronger person, and the course made me realise that if I want to give something a go in life, I should just give it a go.”
One of the great things about this course is that generous scholarships are available so that students can attend irrespective of their circumstances. Both Harriot and Ruky benefited from the funding available. This year Outward Bound is celebrating 75 years of helping young people and are offering generous scholarships as part of their celebrations.
So, if you know of any 15-19 year olds who might benefit from taking part in a Skills for Life Award course they can apply for funding now as applications for summer 2017 scholarships are open already. This could be their chance to shine.
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