At Afon Goch we have found that using Adventure Activities in a safe and controlled environment is an effective therapeutic tool helping young people develop positive self image, build self esteem and self confidence, and empowering young people to make good decisions about all aspects of their life.
It also gives the children the opportunity of trying new experiences, learning new skills, and feeling the buzz of real achievement.
Experiential learning, leading to personal development encourages young people to understand physical and social boundaries and subsequently become risk aware rather than risk adverse. Learning is designed to be achievable and promote success. People learn best when they are having fun and at Afon Goch we try and keep activities upbeat and humorous.
Activities that form part of the outdoor education programme include indoor and outdoor climbing, bouldering, mountaineering, kayaking, hill walking, gorge walking and coasteering. We are lucky enough to be based in the heart of Snowdonia, a beautiful location in which to carry out these activities. We also like to explore the opportunities of expeditions to other parts of the country such as South Wales, the Peak District, Devon and Cornwall, the Lake District and Scotland. There is so much to see and enjoy!
As a licensed Adventure Activities Centre (AALA), participation in adventurous activities is an integral element of the programme. Our own multi-qualified outdoor education staff lead these activities instead of bringing in outsiders who do not know the young people. We also ensure that children are given proper supervised training before we allow them to take part in outside activities.
We have developed an in house assessment scheme whereby each child has a personal logbook detailing their achievements in each discipline and receives a certificate when they complete a level. Each discipline has nine levels to work through and is used as a therapeutic tool for building self-esteem, teamwork, trust, confidence, and the ability to question, in particular, decisions about safety and how the child feels in a high-risk situation.
The structured, progressive approach that is applied is effective, bringing out the best in young people through innovative practical tasks, which build confidence, self satisfaction, personal achievement and self belief. We also ensure that the skills and principles developed in Adventure Activities are not only directly related to scenarios that the young people may currently be encountering but also those they may experience in the future such as in the work place.
The young people can also gain nationally recognised qualifications to mark their success and to begin to build up a portfolio of achievement which they can then take away with them when they leave Afon Goch.
Every Tuesday night all staff and children at Afon Goch have the choice to attend Rock Frogs. This is our very own adventure club night where the children participate in an outdoor activity as a group. Rock Frogs grew from an idea from one of the children. Staff who are not on shift are also invited to attend and everyone works on developing their kayaking and climbing skills together with the emphasis on fun.
It is motivating for the children to see staff members having a go at the activities.
One week the activities are land based (‘Rock') which could include indoor or outdoor climbing, or maybe a trip to the nearby ski slope. The next week the activities are water based (‘Frog') and as well as kayaking that could include ice skating (in winter) or in the summer, a trip to the beach.