May 23rd, 2014

Overcoming Barriers

This time next week we will be in the Kent countryside with 10 of our girls, preparing for the journey home after 3 days of navigating rope courses in the tree tops and roasting marshmallows over camp fires, exhausted but hopefully happy!

We absolutely love taking young people out of London, to explore new places and try new things and preferably get a bit muddy in the process! But we have been reminded over the last few weeks of how many barriers there are for some young people to taking part in activities that are outside of their normal experience. After the girls initial excitement when we announced the residential, almost all of them have wrestled with major concerns, either of their own or others, about attending the 3 day trip.

There have been concerns about friendships and bullying, body image and clothing, ghosts, heights, drowning, families concerned about being separated from their daughters and some daughters concerned about leaving their parents. It is, of course, completely valid for our girls and their families to have these concerns, some of them very deeply held, but we also believe that there is great value in overcoming them and we have worked hard to listen and understand and to work with the girls and their families to find solutions where possible.

Often creating opportunities for young people is only half of the work. Working with them and sometimes their friends and families to enable them to reach a point where they feel able to take up opportunities can be a much more complex task, requiring lots of sensitivity, insight and adaptability.