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Aylesham youngsters respond to engagement project

Thirteen young people aged from 7 to 14, from the Aylesham area, have benefited from a bespoke youth intervention programme designed to push them both physically and mentally in a safe, controlled environment.

During the challenging one-week programme, which took place during October half-term, the youngsters took part in a range of activities which included high emphasis on outdoor fitness challenges along with shelter building, basic fire lighting and safety, field cooking, military style strategy games such as camouflage and concealment, capture the flag, through to reconnaissance patrols and laser gun battles. The youngsters also participated in a community activity where they painted the Aylesham Youth Centre, which had been covered in graffiti and they also fixed items that had been broken within the centre, cleaned windows and graffiti from the skateboard park.

Key objectives for the programme included instilling self-discipline; raising self-confidence and self-worth, and learning to work together as part of a team to complete the exciting tasks whilst building fitness.

The week culminated in a prize presentation at The Youth Centre, Ackholt Road, Aylesham and were presented by Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, Major (Retd) Dennis Bradley BEM DL and Kerry Boyd, Youth Crime Commissioner.

At the presentation, Challenger Troop Team leader Vicky Collins told parents that the week was a real success with every young person having increased their self-confidence, made new friends and improved their personal behaviour. “It was a fantastic week for them all, and I personally feel very fortunate to have delivered such a successful course for these deserving young people”.

Parents were also happy to express their views of the programme. One mother said: “My son has benefited so much from this week. He now wants to join the cadets.” Another said: “My daughter was very hesitant about taking part, but has had the best time ever.”

The course was funded by Kent County Council with support from the PCSO for the ward and a Community Safety Officer from the Dover District Community Safety Unit. We are delighted to say that we hoping to work with Dover District Community Safety Partnership, Dover District Council and KCC to provide more Challenger Troop programmes for young people in the Dover area next year.

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Posted: 20, February, 2015
by Kevin Campbell

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"Outdoor learning is giving them back their childhood wonder and curiosity at new things, allowing them to experience the marvel of discovery and the learning that comes from taking risks"

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