Sunday 8th March is International Women’s Day and to mark it we will be celebrating the successes of the girls who visit Ufton Adventure.
Ufton Adventure raises the aspiration and attainment of disadvantaged and disabled children through outdoor learning in our woodland cabins and grounds. Through repeated residential visits, the young people that visit us develop skills to meet the challenges they face at home and in school, returning as more successful learners.
Charlotte, one of our outdoor leaders at Ufton Adventure, shares her experiences of working with girls at Ufton:
One thing that is sometimes prevalent in the young girls that attend our programmes is low confidence in themselves and their ideas. For these girls, our focus on raising self-esteem and tenacity is particularly important. Setting self-esteem targets teaches them to put value in themselves and their feelings, and to prioritise and trust the way that they feel. It creates confidence and an increased ability to share with others, as well as an understanding that expressing their own feelings and ideas will greatly benefit themselves and others.
Our tenacity targets help to create an attitude of welcoming mistakes without letting them define us, and learning from them instead. Many girls that visit us seem almost afraid of making mistakes and this attitude limits their opportunities in the outside world. If they can learn tenacity when faced with a challenge like lighting a fire in the middle of the woods, or climbing a high wall whilst blindfolded, then they can face the academic and social challenges of school and home life.
When working with one school, I was able to see Jenny grow from being very timid and quick to upset on her first visit with us, to being one of the first to share her ideas with the group and show pride in the things that she was sharing. Part of this development may have been due to the safe environment we offer, which allows the opportunity to share without fear of judgement or being put down. As her confidence grew, so did her willingness to interact with others and share her thoughts.
Of course, all the girls that come to Ufton are very unique. We also come across many girls who already show great confidence, and our leadership programmes allow these girls the opportunity they need to use and cement this attitude. We show them the skills needed to be a good leader (such as setting a good example and using clear communication) and then allow them to practice these skills by teaching other children things that they’ve learnt. For many, this has unveiled the realisation of just how effective a leader they can be.