East Kent participants amaze VIPs
On Monday 11th July, we welcomed over 40 pupils from primary and secondary schools throughout East Kent to Leros Barracks, Canterbury, where we celebrated their achievements in the presence of a number of dignitaries.
These included the Lord Mayor and Mayoress of Canterbury Cllr George and Mrs Lillian Metcalfe, Deputy Lieutenant of Kent Mr Stephen Kingsman, Chairman of Kent County Council (KCC) Tom Gates, Deputy Leader of KCC Cllr Pat Todd and other local councillors including Cllr Jean Butcher and Cllr Mo Eleanor.
The students and pupils were being rewarded for completing a 12-week course of gruelling and challenging activities, which included adventure training, survival skills, fieldcraft and bushcraft, all designed to encourage personal development in areas including self-confidence, resilience and self-discipline. Course participants, who had referred themselves to the programmes in consultation with their schools, learned to improve their behaviour and attitude towards those around them. They also worked to improve their fitness, along with their social, communication, teambuilding and leadership skills, all of which have helped them to make significant progress in their education.
Some of the schools represented included Ifield, Aspen 2, Old Priory, Harbour, Isle of Sheppey Academy and others from across the region.
Awards were presented in front of their peers, schoolteachers, local officials and, importantly, friends and family. Certificates were presented for completing the course, along with St John First Aid Young Lifesaver and National Navigator awards. In addition, special merits for improvements in behaviour and commendations for leadership skills, outstanding effort and mentoring younger students were awarded.
Changes in the young people observed by the East Kent Team Leader Sgt Major Collings included improved confidence, self-esteem and willingness to participate. She said “The students from the different schools have really bonded and worked so well together that an outsider would not have been able to tell that they are from different schools. They have made new friends based on tolerance and respect for each other’s abilities. We have seen leaders of the future in our groups this term, who have demonstrated their willingness to take on significant levels of responsibility and shown impressive improvements in grit and resilience.”
Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr George Metcalfe, spoke of his amazement at what the young people had achieved in such a short space of time and urged them to take these new skills with them in the future and to continue to build on them.
Chairman of KCC, Mr Tom Gates, who has chosen Challenger Troop as his charitable organisation of the year, carried on this theme. He said “You have all achieved so much already and what you have accomplished will carry you through to the end of your school career and into the next stage of your life, whether that be university or paid employment. You can be very proud of all that you have done and I would like to join your instructors, families and friends in congratulating you on completing your 12-week course and rising to the challenges you have been set.”
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