Explore More is a residential programme like no other!
Explore More is an extraordinary and inspirational week-long residential which takes place in the South of France, thanks to the support of a philanthropist we have developed a terrific and most generous relationship with over the years. He provides the flights, food, accommodation and guides and we provide the trained youth workers, do all of the selection and preparation, including providing special footwear and clothing.
The intensive personal development programme is for young people who will most likely never have had the opportunity to travel, may be demonstrating challenging and anti-social behaviour and are close to or are at risk of exclusion from school or their families.
Young people are taxied to the airport together with youth work staff members, where they take off to Southern France. For the vast majority, their first time ever on an aeroplane. The week involves hard physical farm work in the mornings at the foot of the beautiful Pyrenees Mountains, following instructions from the international team.
Young people then complete challenges in the afternoons, including canyoning, diving and mountaineering, before having lessons learned/de-brief discussions and achievement awards in the evenings.
The experience offers a fantastic opportunity for the young people to be supported in taking on challenges which they would not have believed they could achieve, which culminate in a stretch challenge to climb a mountain with the aid of accredited guides. This challenge sees the young people building a camp at 2000 metres above sea level and sleeping out in cold temperatures, to then rise in the early hours of the morning to walk to the summit for sunrise - a huge test to their perseverance and self-motivation.
It can be imagined what a fantastic feeling of achievement and self-pride young people gain upon completing such a trip. The young people have the opportunity to step back from their “home” environment and gain new perspectives, develop a range of transferrable skills and while away we work with them on encouraging them to make commitments and to aspire to life goals with the aim to leverage them onto a positive pathway on returning to the UK.
In 2017,18 & 19 we took up to 8 persons for two level 1 programmes per year and in 2019 we additionally piloted a more intense Level 2 programme. It is always incredible to witness their individual and collective responses to the whole experience and to witness the changes that we see.
We also place great importance on working with the young people after they return from the programme. It is vital to us to give them every opportunity to sustain their developmental impetus and so we encourage them to work hard on their commitments that they made whilst away. In that way we best help “them” to manage their development and additionally we always see great input from the members of the same cohort in providing guidance and encouragement and reminders of stories and connections back to the insights they gained and the great memories that they gained.
Willem Voorvaart, owner of the farm, without whose incredible generosity the residentials would not be possible, described Camp 1 of the three 2019 trips which took place this year as: “probably one of the best Camps we have had in the past 7 years" and we had some fantastic feedback from the young people about how "amazing” the experience was for them.
To hear more about how our 2018 and 2019 programmes please click the following links!