Case Study: CM
At the age of 13, CM had a reputation for trouble. He was disruptive at school, getting involved in fights and swearing at teachers, and at home he was rapidly going off the rails, hanging out with the wrong crowd and, as he says, “doing things I shouldn’t”.
Five years on, the bright, articulate youngster is nearing completion of a two-year apprenticeship in motor mechanics and keen to help other young people in challenging circumstances sort their lives out.
CM is quite clear about what triggered the turnaround in his life. “It was joining Challenger Troop. They came into my school when I was in Year 8 to talk about what they do and I just thought it looked really good. I’ve always liked being outdoors, and that’s where most of their activities take place. I could see that I’d be doing different things every week, which sounded good to me, and I think I knew that I needed the discipline they provided.”
The first few weeks proved a challenge as the youngster, a well-built rugby player used to throwing his weight around, realised he was in a different world. “It was a new place, with new people, and I didn’t enjoy it at first. But after a few weeks, I realised that I wasn’t the big ‘I am’, that there were people in the world who were bigger and better than me, and that’s when I started to change.”
However CM is quick to point out that “Challenger Troop never felt like a punishment or a boot camp. I knew I needed a kick up the backside because I had tried to discipline myself and nothing seemed to work. Challenger Troop offered me that discipline, but I really enjoyed myself too. Instructors show you how to do the different activities and let you get on with it, but if you need help, they’re always there. And if you’re having problems at home or at school, and there’s no-one to talk to, they’ll always listen. I’ve learned such a lot.”
Looking back on his early teens, CM realised that he had been spending time with the wrong crowd, “people who were always trying to start trouble”. He explained: “Challenger Troop made me realise what’s wrong and what’s right. I calmed down a lot and now I have real friends. I always knew I was hurting my mum when I got into trouble, she was despairing of me, but I’d feel guilty for about ten minutes and then forget. Now I know she’s proud of me.”
But whilst his life was changing, some of CM’s old demons continued to haunt him. “I got into a fight at school in Year 11 and had to leave. But the staff at Challenger Troop knew what I needed, I wasn’t going to sit at home playing computer games. I continued to go there as a volunteer and they took me on as a staff instructor and youth mentor, to try and help others build their confidence and deal with their anger. The fact that I have been through these things myself gives me an understanding. Before I joined CT, I thought I was the only one who felt the way I did, but then I realised I wasn’t, and that’s all down to them.”
“Sometimes it’s hard to believe how my life has changed,” grinned CM.
]C is a lovely boy and I’m so proud of him now, going back a few years I was at the end of my tether with him and was wondering where do we go now but thanks to you all for your help and support at Challenger Troop, C is a different child now well young man actually. You have all done so much for him and worked so hard with him which brings him to be the lovely boy he is now, without you all I really don’t know where we would be. C is now doing a 2 year apprentice at KwikFit to be a mechanic, (all he has ever wanted in life is to be out in the big wide world working and paying his way) thank you all again for all your help.