MORE than 30 army youngsters aged between 11-19 enjoyed a-once-in-a-lifetime adventure this summer thanks to an initiative run by Annington in conjunction with The Outward Bound Trust.  

Now in its eighth year, the 2019 Annington Challenge offered 65 lucky youngsters from service families the chance to experience their very own outdoor adventure at one of Outward Bound’s three centres around the UK. 

Those taking part, known as challengers, camped out in some of the most beautiful parts of the UK and got the chance to tackle everything from abseiling, canoeing and gorge-walking to sailing, kayaking and climbing, working in small groups under the watchful eyes of Outward Bound instructors.

The Annington Challenge aims to change how young people think and feel about themselves and their lives, by building their personal, social and emotional skills – and aims to give them the tools to then thrive at school, in further education, employment and beyond. Participants learn a deep appreciation of the balance between risk, reward and responsibility and leave with transferable, essential life skills including:

  • Setting and achieving goals
  • Listening and communicating effectively
  • Facing a challenge with determination 
  • Cooperation and collaboration 
  • Maintaining a positive outlook, even when things get tough
  • Effective leadership skills.

The Annington Challenge offers three courses – Skills for Life Award, Discover Adventure and Serious Adventure Award.  

Those chosen for a place on the 19-day Skills for Life Award stepped outside of their comfort zone, discovered and explored exciting new places, and made lasting friendships. From climbing to kayaking to three separate multi-day expeditions, outdoor adventure was at the heart of the course. One army youngster, Will, explained: “It’s a really great course. Most people were dreading the expeditions, but we got walking and it really wasn’t so bad!” 

The dedicated instructor played a huge role throughout, coaching and sharing their skills, knowledge and expertise so that all left equipped to stand out from the crowd and able to realise their ambitions and achieve their life goals.

Others tackled the seven-day Discover Adventure or the Serious Adventure awards. Aimed at 11-19-year-olds, the emphasis was on having fun and learning new skills. Participants climbed rocks, navigated hills and scrambled up waterfalls, with the highlight being an overnight mountain camping expedition.

Find out more

The Annington Challenge is open to all armed forces children, regardless of background.  Youngsters will need the support of their school or college and if chosen, challengers must be prepared to write a short report on their Annington Challenge.  Find out more at the Outward Bound website.

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