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As you may imagine, some of these kids were unrecognisable from the shy individuals that arrived for the bag drop less than a week earlier. As ever it was fascinating to witness the progress of young people from all kinds of different backgrounds as they developed their own skills while building lasting trust and friendships with their team mates. Great preparation for phase 2 the following week!

Week 1 

This wave was a shortened three week programme but what it lacked in time it more than compensated for in activities, enthusiasm and that fantastic camaraderie that the programme invariably generates.

During week 1, at the Kingswood residential adventure centre in Hexham, the various teams – many of whom were complete strangers to each other when they joined the programme – were encouraged to push themselves way beyond their normal comfort zones in a variety of individual and team based outdoor activities. The activities were overseen by a team of fantastic instructors and ranged from climbing and abseiling, through fencing and zip wires, to fire lighting and laser tag out in the woods.

Week 2 

The young people spent their second residential session at Abbotsholme, a private boarding school in Derbyshire. There was still time for plenty of fun activities – this time organised by our great group of team leaders and mentors – but the week also included some more thoughtful sessions regarding leadership, character development, and taking a look at our local communities and planning towards our third and final week.

Week 3 

The third week is the pinnacle of all the hard work. This is where the bonds formed in the first week, and skills learnt in the second week really come into play. The young people had already come up with their projects in the second week and even over the weekend one group had done a car-boot sale! Then another group faced Monday morning head on with a walk in the peak district to raise money! So it was safe to say that they were diving straight in with no messing about. During the mere 30 hours the teams had some amazing projects were planned and brought to life, which is an achievement in its own rights.

These projects were; CDA (Chesterfield Drug Awareness) who produced a video on the dangers on drugs to show around secondary schools.

Helping Hand who worked closely with Fairplay (A day centre for people with special needs) to raise money and resources.

Team Synergy who partnered with Pathways, a homeless shelter, to raise funds for a laptop, PC and a what’s on board to support homeless people with getting back on their feet.

A New Lease who renovated the garden at Ashgate hospicecare.

Operation Gift, who went on to win the Dragons’ Den and will present at Graduation, raised funds to buy toys and books for the children’s ward at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Last but not least team Rescue Awareness teamed up with Pet Samaritans to raise £445 and build a new duck enclosure.

“Overall these past three week have been a pleasure to group lead and I wish all the young people a very bright future!” – Graham, Group Leader