The project that this study looks at is a trip that the young people themselves planned, organised and took part in. The young people were given the option to go on a residential trip within spring half term. The residential trip was organised as a reward for the young people who had taken part in planning the previous community event and as an opportunity for the young people to undertake personal and group development activities in a challenging environment away from home.
The young people were given a range of options as to where they could go, alongside information as to what activities they could do in each location, and then as a group they had to negotiate and decide where they would go and what they would do. The young people further helped with the planning by working out the catering arrangements for the trip as well as helping to produce kit lists of the items they would need to take part in the activities, and working out budgets and itineraries.
Over the course of the residential all the young people were extremely engaged in the activities that took place, with many of the young people challenging their fears of heights, small spaces and even some animals. The young people took part in a wide range of activities such as; abseiling, team building, bush crafts, night walks and personal development workshops.
During the residential we deliberately tried to place the young people outside of their comfort zones and to encourage them all to try new challenges. We encouraged the different friendship groups to mix during the residential to challenge the young people’s perceptions of themselves and each other, and to help them to mix with groups that they may not ordinarily do so, in order to challenge their perceptions of other groups within their community.
During the residential the young people took part in a number of workshops that looked at their values, beliefs and the way that they interact within their communities. The young people took part in tasks that made them question; their values, their beliefs and to consider both the positive and negative consequences of their actions.
When taking part in these workshops the young people initially showed no appreciation for others in the community and consistently chose to put their own wants above those of others. However, after reflecting upon these decisions many of the young people changed their opinions and altered their choices to reflect the needs of others. Similarly, the young people reflected that in future they would try to consider the implications that their actions had on other people around them whether that be friends, family or other people in their local community.
After returning from the trip, the young people evaluated what they had learned. One young person stated that they had learnt to ‘try and take other peoples opinions into consideration’ and another young person stated that they wanted to try to be ‘more open minded and respect people’s different opinions’. For these young people this is a significant step and is something we hope to develop further with the young people over the following months through our ongoing project work.