Last year’s Annington Challenge proved to be a high point of the summer for a group of lucky service children, including 11 army youngsters.

The challenge – Annington’s project for military youngsters run with the Outward Bound Trust – provides a wealth of exciting activities including sailing, abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing and gorge walking.

Annington’s annual donation of £50,000 usually provides funding for around 80 service youngsters. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, numbers were restricted this year, but the fun levels were just as high at the Outward Bound Centres in Aberdovey and Ullswater.

Gus Shretha (pictured right), 14, who is part of an army family, took part in the Aberdovey course and found the experience really boosted his skills.

He said: “When I first arrived at the centre, I didn’t think I was going to talk to anyone but I met a lad called Will who was in my group and now we’re friends.”

Pulling together

Initially confident that he could handle anything the seven-day course threw at him, the expedition to Cader Idris in Snowdonia took him outside of his comfort zone.

“We camped in the rain and went to bed wet, but our instructor Chris gave us plenty of good advice and encouraged us,” he added. “It was definitely an achievement!”

Gus found that his group encouraged each other when the going got tough.

“Because I’ve done rock climbing before I found myself leading the group and supporting the others who were less experienced,” he added.

So what would Gus say to other army youngsters who are interested in tackling the Annington Challenge?

“I’d encourage them. Just keep your head up – you can always find something in common with people!”


2022 applications are now open

To date, more than 350 service youngsters have completed the Annington Challenge and now’s your chance to join the experience’s alumni. Summer 2022 marks the Challenge’s tenth anniversary and they’re looking for participants.

For more information on this year’s programme and to apply, go to www.outwardbound.org.uk/the-annington-challenge-application-process

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