Outdoor residentials, organised by schools to complement their PE programme, are a great way to bring young people together outside the school environment. We all appreciate the health benefits of being active in the outdoors, but residentials bring social and emotional benefits as well.
Trying something new
One of the big advantages of a residential trip is giving young people the chance to try activities which are unlikely to be available in school, such as canoeing, sailing, fencing and climbing. For children who don’t engage with traditional PE activities, these alternatives can prove to be life-changing, and they discover skills and abilities they never knew they had. This can often lead to interest in a new sport outside school and joining a local club, leading to new pathways to success and improved self-confidence.
Freedom in the outdoors
There’s something about being outdoors – the fresh air, the landscape, the freedom. It’s naturally inspiring and a great setting for young people to explore their boundaries, see each other in a different light and discover themselves. By encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone, face their fears and push their limits, outdoor activities help young people develop coping strategies and build resilience, improving confidence as well as physical capabilities.
Experiencing an unfamiliar environment
Each new activity brings its own set of challenges, including the residential experience itself, which can re-align existing social hierarchies and change group dynamics. Living, working and playing together as a community, away from the familiar home and school environment, encourages tolerance and respect, and young people become more self-aware and confident.
Achieving success together
Learning to give and receive support under challenging circumstances helps young people develop stronger relationships with each other. Communication and leadership skills are developed as they work together to conquer each new challenge with confidence.
Whether it’s navigating a canoe through fast-flowing river rapids, finding the courage to ski down a mountain for the first time or completing a challenge course in record time – each adventure brings a new challenge and a new way to experience success.
For many young people, an outdoor residential is a transformational experience, providing the freedom to discover new abilities, push boundaries and thrive in the unfamiliar, while bringing with it a range of benefits which young people can draw upon back in the classroom and in years to come. From starting a new school or coping with exam pressures, to preparing for job interviews, these newfound skills really can make a positive impact.