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WWESU: Case study
By Hati Whiteley
30, Nov, 2017
How can the outdoors help young people? We hear from Charlie, a young person who has recently benefitted from an AK Foundation award.
Remember our recent post about the our support of the Wild Wolf Explorer Scout Unit? (If you don't, click here to bob over and refresh your memory). Since that post was published, we've been lucky enough to hear about how the Alpkit Foundation award of outdoor kit for WWESU has helped one particular young person. We'll hand you over to Karen to tell his story…
Charlie is dyslexic and dyspraxic, he also has weak joints which means he has struggled with physical activity in the past. Doctors/specialists said he would never ride a bike, that he wouldn’t ever be able to write, or speak properly – he has enjoyed proving them wrong. Being part of Wild Wolf has provided opportunities for him to push himself safely.
‘As a child, I would trip up easily over door ledges. To go hiking in the Peak District from that is incredible’.
Wild Wolf gives Charlie opportunities to develop his skills and fitness and try out new things. Whist learning how to put up a tent, light a fire and read a map he discovered that camping is ‘the love of [his] life’.
It has not always been so easy.
‘When I joined the unit I was very slow… now I walk faster than before’.
Despite having to give up on the second day of his first hike because of swollen joints, he has now been on 11 hikes. Often he has to adapt his route, taking shorter or easier options to compensate for his health issues, but he has never let this get him down, approaching every adventure with humour and resilience.
During a weekend in Dorset last year, Chalie explained:
‘I really pushed my limits but my joints went and Phil had to come and get me in the van… I still managed 15km of the 20km hike though!’
He likes to have a go at everything and has taken part in water based activities including swimming, kayaking and canoeing. He falls off repeatedly when cycling but just gets up again, ‘bruised but more skilled!’ This is the philosophy he tries to take in life – to make something of every opportunity that comes his way.
Charlie says that Scouting has also helped him to develop his social skills. Before, he had always been very shy but now finds it easier to make conversation, even when with a large group of people. Wild Wolf helps him to fulfil his aspirations which are to ‘live life and travel’.
The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.
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