Community First News & Updates
Joining Youth Action Wiltshire with a ‘Splash!’ (Quite literally)
Blog post by Fiona Simpson
This week I joined the Youth Action Wiltshire team as their new Marketing and Fundraising Coordinator and was given the opportunity to experience first-hand some of the incredible projects the charity runs for young people.
I was taken down memory lane as I spent the day with Young Carers at Oxenwood Outdoor Education Centre. The last time I visited Oxenwood was 25 years ago as an excitable and slightly anxious year 4 student. I remember my school trip with fond memories, first time away from home, first time in a bunkbed, first time going on a midnight walk! Oxenwood was a highlight of my childhood and one I have never forgotten. Being able to experience the centre as an adult and watching other young people enjoy themselves just as much as I did was lovely to see.
We spent the morning getting to know each other through socially distanced team building activities and making mini sling shots. During the afternoon session we used the epic climbing wall. I was personally very nervous about trying this activity, barely getting my feet off the ground on my first attempt, to my second attempt where I just about got halfway up!!
The group of young people I spent time with were the best, they were the ones motivating me to get up the wall! I had the chance to get to know an amazing and inspirational group of young people. They all had so much fun, the day was full of laughter and positivity and it was clear how important respite days like this are for them. They as young people have had or are going through some challenging times and coming to Oxenwood for the day gave them time to relax, be silly, make new friends and learn new skills. It was a joy to be around them and it emphasised even more just how crucial these projects are for young carers.
Having just recovered from trying to climb up a wall, the following day my destination was Firs Wood where I joined the Splash team who had partnered up with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust to run a day of shelter making, forest walks, games and pumpkin carving.
I met a group of young lads who were on the Splash programme along with their youth worker, Matt. Led by Christine from WWT, we immediately threw ourselves in to shelter making which was followed by a heavy rainstorm! Myself and one of the young people were super proud of our shelter as, not only did it keep us dry, it also had a natural water system flowing from the top which meant if we wanted a cup of water, we had it at our disposal!
This was another day where I was able to experience exactly what YAW offer children and young people. Regardless of what these young people have gone through or are going through, this was a day where they could just be kids in a safe, caring and very wet and muddy environment. I spoke with two of the young people who had never been on a Splash activity before and they said they were so nervous they nearly didn’t attend. Within five minutes the nerves were a distant memory and they were having the time of their lives.
That is exactly what I felt these programmes provided. Escapism from the real world where children can be children and leave any worries or anxieties at the door. I genuinely felt like I was a part of something special and making a difference to so many young people across Wiltshire.
I am looking forward to doing all I can to enable programmes like these to continue and places like Oxenwood to thrive. Times are tough for so many people and now more than ever, the work YAW does is vital.
I now know first-hand that donations made are truly changing lives.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading.