Case Study: NK
NK was a difficult teenager. By the age of 14, he was finding it hard, if not impossible, to control his anger and was frequently lashing out both at home and at school.
With his mother and father having recently separated and his mother only just recovered from cancer, his life at home was not easy, and he often found himself engaged in shouting matches with his sisters. At school, things were no better, where his lack of patience and anger issues were causing him to frequently row with teachers and get into trouble.
Enter Challenger Troop. By now NK was facing the real threat of exclusion from school and a CT programme was suggested as a means of last resort. After an initial interview with one of the instructors, NK, along with several other youngsters from across the year groups at his school, was enrolled initially for a 12-week programme. It took him a few days to settle in. After a stand-up row with one of the instructors on the first day after having been told off for messing around, it was only on the insistence of his school that he returned and apologised for his behaviour. But soon, he found that he was bonding with his instructors in a way that was completely new to him. “I just started to think, let’s try and get on with them, right? Have a bit of a laugh, you know?”
As he explains: “I liked Challenger Troop because they listened to me. At school, they don’t. Here, there’s always someone to talk to, always someone who’ll listen. And it’s not just problems at school they’ll help with, it’s personal stuff too. Sometimes, instead of doing one of the activities, they’d help me with my reading.”
NK is convinced that the military ethos-style programmes at Challenger Troop were instrumental in teaching him patience, self-discipline and respect. “Military ethos helped me at home too. I just thought, you know, if I can deal with all the discipline here, why not at home as well? I get on much better with my mum now. Definitely. I still row a bit with my sisters, but not like before, just normal stuff now, like any family.”
NK strongly believes that Challenger Troop helped get him back on track, helping him to gain enough GCSEs to take up a course in Car Mechanics at K. College in Tonbridge. He believes that previously he would never have had the patience to sit down in a learning environment and just knuckle down. “If I’ve got any advice for other youngsters who are struggling, it would be to just get your head down and carry on. Don’t mess around, you’re just making yourself look like a fool. People will be laughing at you, not with you. There was a girl in my class who used to work really hard and she would just look at me and say that when we’re grown up, I’d be the one cleaning her office. And she was right. I didn’t care about anything, but you don’t get anywhere by messing around.
So what’s next for NK? “I’d like to do Level Three Car Mechanics and become an instructor at Challenger Troop. I’m currently volunteering to help mentor the youngsters. I’d recommend Challenger Troop to anybody who’s in trouble – community, school, home, anything – it’ll help anyone. It’s definitely a good organisation to be involved with, and a rewarding job as well.”