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De Lacy, Airedale and Featherstone Academy go on a personal journey on the WDH Community Leadership Programme

On Monday 1st July 2019, approximately 59 students travelled the 2 hour journey from De Lacy,  Airedale Academy and Featherstone Academy to the Outward Bound centre in Ullswater which is located in the Lake District to take part in the Wakefield District Housing (WDH) community leadership programme (CLP) for the week.

The students spent 5 days taking part in a wide variety of activities and tasks from an overnight expedition, gorge walking and cliff jumping. They used and developed a wide range of skills including team working, listening, resilience and leadership skills.

For the first time, Go Higher West Yorkshire teamed up with WDH to support the Community Leadership Programme and delivered a session on higher education to the students during the week. Students developed new friendships, faced new challenges and overall had a life changing experience!

One of the students from Airedale Academy wrote about her personal experience of the programme:

“This course has been life changing for me it feels like I went to Ullswater and came back to Castleford a different person. I really enjoyed my week at the Outward Bound centre as I had an opportunity to meet new people not only from other schools but also students from my own school who I didn’t socialise with.

There was times when I felt defeated, especially when we had to go on an expedition and carry all our food and equipment up a mountain. I had to really push myself out of my comfort zone.  I overcame that feeling with the help of my amazing instructor Tom and my team mates who encouraged me to keep on going and pushed me to carry on marching up Catsy Cam. I loved how our team worked together, team Francis were strangers at the start and at the end it was like saying goodbye to a family we loved.

I really enjoyed having to help encourage others when they felt defeated. We did some incredible things that I thought I never would be able to be capable of like squeezing threw a tiny tunnel, or going cliff jumping and even rowing for three hours down the lake. At the end of the week I was so proud of not just myself but of everyone because we all overcame our fears and succeeded.

The skills I learnt there will stay with for a lifetime, for example when I go for an interview for college or a job I will feel more confident as during my time in Ullswater we all had to create a presentation and deliver it to a vast audience. I could use my experience of team work in school by participating in group activities more, and also this will help me with my rugby where team work and communication is vital for a winning side.

It was such an exciting time at the Lake District as we would go to sleep having a nice warm hot chocolate to wake up not knowing what we were about to do next . It was so hard to leave, I really hope I can go back one day because I had such an amazing time there and the surroundings were just so perfect, it was nice to get away from home and do things I never thought I would.

My best memory and one I will never forget was waking up to a sheep next to me while we were out on the valley camping overnight. We had a great time and I really can’t wait to go again, it will be awesome if I can put this on my CV from learning new skills and having these life changing experiences.

Thank you to WDH and GHWY for giving me the opportunity to take part in such a wonderful project and hopefully one day I will get the chance to go back.”

Another student from De Lacy Academy expressed their views on the day, stating that “I learnt various skills such as making new friends and co-operating to complete various challenges like canoeing as that was something we could not do on our own. I learnt during cliff jumping that I should not hold back any opportunities and that I should always try new things. From this I was able to jump from various cliffs safely but still enjoying the day at the same time.

One of my biggest challenges was climbing to the peak of Helvellyn at 950 meters as we had huge bags that were full of heavy equipment and this made it tiring. On the way down I carried my friend’s bag as it was really hurting them. This made me feel supportive and happy I was able to help another student.  The experience I gained was life changing and amazing!”