In October, The Youthy took 14 young people to Bewerley Park Educational Outdoor Residential Centre. With The Youthy not having delivered a residential since 2018 due to COVID and lack of funding, this was a real opportunity and test for the young people. This was a trial for future residentials – and it really passed the test!
The young people who attended, were part of the mentoring scheme where Five Lamps and Corner House Youth Project are working together as part of Grow Together Stockton Project to encourage young people to access a career in Youth Work. Therefore, this residential was a reward to the young people who have worked hard within their role as a youth mentor. This role consists of multiple training sessions to support their development, supporting the youth clubs with their sessional work on the evening and taking part in giving back to the community.
With an arrival time of 6pm on the Friday evening, we were met for meet and greet and introduction. The young people were shown their dorms and encouraged to make their own beds. This is where the real test began. With some explanation, this task was completed very successfully. After laying down the law, it was finally time for some tea. The food selection was very impressive and catered for everyone. Itching to get back to their dorms, the young people were able to enjoy some free time with their friends. It was already clear that the young people appreciated this opportunity and were very happy for the freedom they were given away from their normal home lives.
One child stated, “I love these dorms, I am so excited to be having a sleepover with all of my friends.” Their last meal of the day was supper time, with some light refreshments and then the young people were shown a table plan to work off to set up for breakfast for the following day, which was a great success, giving our young people their own independence.
The next day, once 14 young people had been torn away from their beds and fed breakfast, the real fun was about to begin. The young people were given a choice of the activity which they wanted to do. The Saturday morning options were high ropes or mountain bikes. With a few groans of wanting to do both, the young people were split into two groups.
The young people who carried out the high ropes, showed a high level of determination and resilience. The ladders were not fixed; therefore, this made the climb much scarier than initially imagined. However, this did not stop any of the young people. Each young person showed that they were able to complete the climb – with some screams, but nonetheless it was completed. The young people (and staff!) who had the courage to fulfil the ‘leap of faith’ exclaimed how incredible they felt afterwards.
“I was so scared, but I was so happy when I finally did it!”
The second group of young people had a morning full of mountain biking. With a test run around the grounds – on soft terrain may I add – the group were then taken to the reservoir to test out their new bike skills. This was a shock to the young people, with a gradual incline to begin with the ground soon became a rough terrain. The fog was heavy. The young people again, showed a high level of resilience. Although it was a hard task, there was some tears and screams the young people battled through their negative thoughts and completed the task that was set. When reflecting on the mountain biking, the young people decided it was worth the fear they experienced just to be able to say that they done it.
When arriving back to the main site, the young people were able to catch up with their peers to share their stories of the morning. It was evident in their faces that they were all equally as proud of their friends for completing the activities which were set for them.
After disturbing a sneaky afternoon nap with an old-school dinner bell, the young people were rallied up to complete some team building exercises off-site at the nearby lake. The young people were divided into groups of who wanted to go into the water, and those who did not. However, by the end of the afternoon, all young people had taken their chances in the water – with three of them diving completely in when their canoe tipped over. Battling some fears by tying canoes together and having staff sit with them within the canoes to improve their confidence, the young people stated that they loved it.
“The canoeing was so much fun. I loved it more than I thought I would!”
On the Saturday evening, a night walk was planned after tea to really drain those energy levels to encourage a good night sleep. Safety first with the hi-vis vests and head torches, the young people and staff were ready to go! The excitement was brewing, mostly due to the shop break that was promised for some snacks, and it was as fun as you could imagine. With some groans of ‘how much longer’, the young people soon stopped complaining when they realised how therapeutic the walk was turning out to be. The field full of sheep towards the end was a pleasant surprise for a lot of the young people. With a small back and forth to find the correct entrance to the site, the young people were finally able to change into their comfy clothes and relax with their friends. Shocked to find most young people had lights out by 9pm, the night to chill was a success.
The final day had arrived, and the young people had been given tasks to clean their dorms and pack their belongings. Without a complaint, this was swiftly complete. In fact, the only complaint that was to be heard was about having to go home.
“Can we just stay another night? I’ve had so much fun.”
The young people were surprised with one last activity to carry out before heading home.
Off we all jumped into the onsite minibus to Brimham Rocks. With helmets and appropriate waterproofs on, the young people were able to experience climbing up, under and over the rocks. Impressed by the ice aged view, the young people did not want to go home – even when tempted by a Parmo when they arrived back in Teesside.
A short dinner break later, and an infamous management speech, the young people were worn out and ready to hit the road. Napping on the way home, the journey back was much more peaceful without the constant ‘are we nearly there yet?!’
Our Aim for the weekend was to gain confidence, motivation and resilience and good communication skills.
Overall, the residential test was a success and Five Lamps could not be any prouder of the young people who attended and the resilience which was shown. We have already began planning the next residential for our young people who attend our Senior night session. The countdown is on, and we cannot wait to share the following successes with you all.