A GROUP of more than 30 army youngsters got the chance to live and breathe the outdoors last summer, tackling exciting activities like abseiling, canoeing and gorge-walking – and this year, it could be you!

The Annington Challenge, run in conjunction with the Outward Bound Trust, offers service children aged 11-19 the chance to camp out in some of the most beautiful and breath-taking parts of the UK.

Will, 15, was one of nine army youngsters who successfully applied for a place on the challenging 19-day skills for life course in Aberdovey last year. In his application, he spoke of wanting to push himself to try new things and improve his team-working skills.  

“When I applied, I felt excited but really nervous about meeting new people,” he said. “What I discovered is that it’s fine if you’re not great at that stuff, it just naturally happens – I met someone at the station! I was in a dorm of six and it was interesting and refreshing to hear people’s life stories.”

The expeditions helped develop Will’s team-building skills. He said: “On the first expedition, we really were a disparate group, not working as a team at all, but by the third one, we put the slowest people at the front to ensure no-one was left behind and there was real sense of being a team.” 

Will also found that his confidence grew as the course progressed: “At the beginning I was making suggestions to the more vocal members of the group and relying on them to share with the whole group. By the end, I was speaking to the group myself. It’s a really great course. Most people were dreading the expeditions, but we got walking and it really wasn’t so bad! My over-riding memory? The views – and the all-day breakfast!”

If your child would like to apply, search ‘Annington Challenge’ at outwardbound.org.uk

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