The GK Experience, established in 2012, aims to improve opportunities for young people aged 10-21 living in disadvantaged communities across Glasgow. Of the young people supported 50% are living in care and are known to have poor school attendance and attainment. The GK Experience deliver group work activities as well as run a programme of residential trips where young people can learn new skills and receive one-to-one support. This year a winter sports trip was organised as an opportunity for the young people to enhance their group work and confidence building skills.
The David Doig Foundation helped to fund a fun-filled snowboarding residential trip to Aviemore where 30 young people developed new leadership and group work skills; learned a new sport, made new friends and worked on building up their resilience. The young people gained a great boost to confidence and self-esteem and with their new found confidence many talked enthusiastically of their future educational and life aspirations, which they took with them on their return to Glasgow and school work.
One young person Adam, who was having a particularly difficult time at home due to a chaotic family life was supported to get involved in the snowboarding residential trip. Due to the relationship that the staff had built with the young person they knew to collect him on day of the trip at 8am from his house, despite the trip not setting off till 4pm, as they knew that if they collected him at 3pm he would not show. Once on the trip Adam had a great time scaling a mountain and when he got to the top he said “this is the best moment of my life, I can’t believe how good this is! When you are up here you don’t have to worry about anything”.
Another young person Alex, who had left school at 14, often finds it difficult to preserve in difficult times. During the snowboarding weekend Alex was challenged, as there were a few difficult points. Alex would usually storm off and isolate himself from the others for the rest of the day, however, on the trip Alex picked himself up and brushed off any situation with a laugh. Alex also made it to the top of the hill which he was ecstatic about. The snowboarding trip greatly boosted Alex’s confidence, self-esteem and aspirations for the future, he is now employed working in retail, which he has excelled in, and regularly volunteers as a youth leader helping his peers along.