Ullswater 2024 – making a positive impact never looked so good!

Making a positive difference to the lives of others is simply the best remit ever! People and positive social impact is at the heart of our business. There are many ways of achieving this with belief in and support for this across the business key to delivery.  One cannot underestimate the immediate and long-term impact of providing opportunities to challenge and build confidence and resilience. 12 young people with a broad range of life experiences gathered on Monday 1 April at Outward Bound Trust’s Ullswater Centre, ready for a week of adventure, learning and fun!

Bringing with us diverse cultural experiences and knowledge certainly enhanced the experience for all. With Ireland, England, Scotland, Ukraine, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Hong Kong, all represented this group was truly global.

Initial awkwardness overcome we set about planning the week ahead as a team. Our goals included learning new skills, making new friends, stepping outside our comfort zone, building confidence, getting out into the countryside, and having fun! And all in the most wonderful setting – Ullswater in the Lake District.

Throughout the week we learned so much about one another, and ourselves, and went home having grown as people and members of society, ready to tackle new challenges, with skills we could transfer to school, home and life in general. We laughed, cried, fell, got back up, supported, encouraged, dug deep, persevered, were quiet and still, sang, danced, reflected, considered, problem-solved, and found solutions. We proved that we could achieve more than we thought, that we could listen, collaborate, share, and work as a team, and that our opinions mattered, our thoughts and contributions were valued. We learned that though we all came with different skills and experiences, we all had a part to play in the success of the team. All this in 5 days – wow!

Starting with the traditional Jog & Dip, water temperature 7 degrees, for a ‘dip’ and pier jumping, (no wetsuits for us!) it was clear this group were committed to getting the most from the activities ahead. Canoe skills followed with ‘tag’ and ‘stuck in the mud’ to ensure we were all ready for Day 2. Nerves calmed and people found their feet and voices – Day 1 under our belts!

Dropping into our canoes at Brougham Castle on the River Eamont, it was clear listening skills and teamwork were going to be important. It did not take long to realise respect for the power and speed of water was today’s main lesson! Capsizing further illustrated this, and we were grateful to our instructors for their patience and skills recovering canoes! And us! 😊 Joining the River Eden, we continued, before tired and wet, returning to the Centre, buzzing with increased belief and confidence.

Delayed expedition start due to rain allowed some challenging gorge scrambling at Greenside. Teamwork was the key to getting everyone up the gorge and the waterfall jump at the end was the reward! Rucksacks secure we headed from Hartsop uphill to Hayeswater, our overnight camping spot! This climb certainly challenged those scrambling tired legs, and grit, encouragement, and resilience were tested! Tents up and dinner heating we settled for the night! Day 3 complete!

“I found out outward bound to be fun and challenging. it really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I think it has made me stronger as a person and now I’ve found that I’m more able to stick at difficult or hard tasks and push and complete them even when I feel like giving up. It was hard work and exhausting, but the long days made me feel like I had accomplished something. It was also a great way to meet new people and see new places.”  – Niamh, Sigma Capital

Early start, camp packed up we headed off on our 4 hour hike to an abseil into Ullswater and rowboat back to base! Slow and steady did it, uphill to Angle Tarn and then across the ridge to our meeting point. The weather was kind! The sun appeared! Safely over the cliff, oars in hand we set off (after a short tow as time was beating us!)!

Back at base, fed and time to unpack (a challenge needing all hands and teamwork!) the sense of achievement was clear. A final evening of Hide-and-seek, Tag, Charades, and chats demonstrated teams do not take long to form and gain strength.

Our final morning, came too soon all felt, and time to review, check kit, and enjoy a dry day – a camp fire and leadership/team challenges! With thanks and goodbyes complete, we headed off, new friends made, new skills developed, and a genuine sense of achievement! We proved we can do, and we can achieve more than we think!

Thanks to all members of the TEAM – participants, instructors and Ullswater team. Each person added value and contributed to the success of the week. Looking forward to keeping connected, and welcoming new participants next time.

“I wanted to express my gratitude for last week, as I believe it was one of the best weeks of my life! It was also the most challenging. I had the opportunity to meet a fantastic group of people and create unforgettable memories. When I first read the list of activities, I assumed it would be like a school trip where everything was organized for us, but it was nothing like that. I loved that we explored the surrounding area and completed activities such as cliff diving. I don’t think I would have done something like that before last week, but I am proud and glad that I did. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I feel that many people have become more anxious and nervous about doing things, but this trip played a significant role in building my confidence back up. I am grateful to have been part of it. After this experience, I have been looking into summer courses, and I hope to participate in more activities like this in the future.” – Lucia

“Doing Outward Bound was one of the biggest challenges I have overcome but I would do it again and again in a heartbeat. Not just for the people I met but the skills I have learned and the parts of culture I have now experienced has been amazing and it needs to keep coming back bigger and better to keep giving teens the opportunity to go away and work on themselves for a week.” – Connor

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