Explore More is a residential programme like no other! Explore More takes a group of young people to the south of France for a week’s intensive personal development.
The first year we took one group; this year we’ve taken two (one in June, one in September); and we hope to be able to grow this provision because the benefits it brings to the young people are unparalleled.
The primary aim of the programme is to give the opportunity to travel and to experience new challenges to young people in particular need. These may be young people who are demonstrating challenging or anti-social behaviour, or who are at risk of exclusion.
For the vast majority of the young people, this will be their first time in an aeroplane, or travelling abroad. Before, during and after the residential, the Explore More participants work on life goals and are supported with 1:1 mentoring sessions to find and stay on a new path once they return to the UK.
The young people don’t get a free ride. They work on the farm for four hours each day, following instructions from the international team, developing crucial communication and teamwork skills, and also experiencing how hard it is to do a low-paying manual job on a daily basis. They then get to experience a range of exciting, often highly physical challenges, and the stunning beauty of the foothills of the Pyrenees.
They have the opportunity to swim in the sea, go scuba diving, and try canyoning, which takes particular courage as it involves sliding down rocks and waterfalls and jumping off high platforms into the river below.
All activities build towards the high point of the residential, which is a mountaineering exercise. The team hike up dirt roads and climb narrow rockways, build a camp at 2000 metres above sea level, catch a little sleep and then rise at 5am to walk to the summit to watch the sun rise.
All our young people complete the residential with an enormous sense of achievement, far greater self-belief, and a determination to make positive changes to the way they live their lives. The task of TRAIN is then to help the young people maintain and develop this determination and to work with them to open up new life opportunities.