Codestone raised over £5,000 for the Youth Adventure Trust this month when two teams took on a limit-defying challenge: a 22km hike up Mount Snowdon to see the views at dawn – and down again, a 48km bike ride in torrential rain and a 2km paddle across a lake. It was no mean feat.
The 2019 Hike Bike Paddle Challenge is an annual event organised by the Youth Adventure Trust, a charity that is committed to inspiring young people to achieve what they never thought was possible.
The Youth Adventure Trust works with vulnerable young people who have all the odds stacked against them. Often from tough backgrounds, including a variety of mental health issues, poverty, or just really struggling at school, these groups are statistically the most likely to end up permanently excluded from education, in trouble with police, or caught up in drugs.
Whilst the Youth Adventure Trust can’t change these young people’s circumstances, they can teach them to face those challenges in a more positive way than the statistics tell us they are destined to do. Currently, 63% of the prison population has been excluded from mainstream education. By reaching out to young people at an early age, the Trust works to positively influence their life choices and make a lasting impact on their minds.
Youth Adventure Trust is unique in that it works with children who are as young as 11 and just started secondary school, providing them with a programme throughout years 7-9. Based on outdoor adventure, it offers young individuals a safe environment where they can challenge themselves, push their own boundaries and go on to achieve more than they ever imagined they could achieve.
The charity offers consistent guidance and mentoring as well as outdoor adventure activities including three residential camps. In the first year there is mountain camp, which involves caving, canoeing and an overnight expedition where the young people have to set up camp and build a fire to cook meals. In the second year of the programme, the young people take part in a residential coastal camp that involves raft-building, paddle-boarding and sailing. The third and final year includes a forest camp: a 2-day expedition – one by canoe, where the young people have to camp out and build their own shelter.
The outdoor adventure serves as a platform to help some of the more troubled young people channel their energies into something positive, developing skills like teamwork, communication and leadership. Each young person has their own set of objectives such as building more confidence, learning to trust others or managing negative reactions to a situation. They work with volunteer mentors to understand what has gone well and what they have learnt so as to achieve those personal goals.
Each year, 120 young people join the 3-year programme. Looking to expand geographically into Somerset and potentially other areas too, Youth Adventure Trust works with businesses to raise the funds. This is where Codestone comes in.
Codestone’s company values and culture – inspire, achieve, transform – resonate deeply with the goals of the Youth Adventure Trust. The ‘Hike Bike Paddle’ Challenge is designed to take sponsored teams on a similar journey of emotions to those experienced by the young people on their outdoor programme: endurance, resilience – and ultimately the satisfaction of achievement. For Codestone, it provides an opportunity for colleagues to have a different kind of conversation; to see each other in a new light, understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and learn what makes the team tick.
Louise Balaam, Director of Fundraising at the Youth Adventure Trust explains what the funds raised by Codestone mean for the Trust:
“We receive no Government funding and rely entirely on the individuals, companies, grant makers and community organisations to fund our activities. A place on our programme, which runs over 3 school years, and is completely free to the young people, costs us £3,600.
Codestone has raised over £5000 with Gift Aid, which is amazing. All the money goes into the programme. Codestone’s fundraising will cover the cost of one 3-year programme at £3,600 and the cost of a mountain camp for an additional young person. Alternatively, it could also pay for 15 young people to go on their second residential: Coastal Camp in Swanage.”
The Codestone teams have had a unique chance to experience what the programme does and an opportunity to help more young people be inspired, achieve their full potential and possibly transform a life.
“Thank you to the Youth Adventure Trust and all those who sponsored our teams. It was one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences ever.”
To take part in a Youth Adventure Fundraising Challenge, visit their website.
To find out more about Codestone’s culture and find career opportunities that inspire you to achieve more, click here.