Having summer off is so over-rated, (it’s not like you can lay out in the sun anyway!) it’s much more fun in the life of a CEC (Communication and Employment Consultant) especially on a youth residential course!
Penny Wilkinson, one of our much loved CECs tells us all about her ‘Summer of Fun’ when she supported two young Deaf students on a residential programme to encourage youth development and independence. Living in a tent and rock climbing was just the start…..read on!
The programme is designed to encourage young people to take up the opportunity to creatively use their entrepreneurial talents whilst also developing friendship and independence; I was privileged to be a part of this by supporting two Deaf students at separate locations over 4 weeks. And when I say it was a summer filled with fun, I wasn’t kidding!!
The First Week:
Our home for the next 5 days was at Consall Scout Camp just outside of Stoke on Trent. A group of 80 students with staff were dispatched, all with tents and equipment for the week and split into smaller groups/teams to focus on team building.
From 10km hiking to abseiling and rock climbing – every day there was a new challenge allowing the students to develop team skills….. and I would say that the ‘challenge’ was far greater for me than it was for the young individuals!
During the evening there were games and activities for them to do, one of which was a basic sign language class that they asked me to lead. Most of the 80 students were keen to be involved with this! They enthusiastically learnt the ABC and simple phases such as “good morning, afternoon, evening”, “please and thank you”, and “Get me a cuppa tea would you!” The young Deaf students were so thrilled to feel included in group discussions with my support – it was a joy to see.
One Deaf student’s parents commented that they could not believe the transformation in their young daughter’s confidence the first weekend she was home before returning for the second week!
During the second week we stayed in student accommodation at a local university (not exactly my idea of luxury) so they could experience a nugget of student life! Talks were given from various groups in the community, on topics ranging from self-defence to budgeting. They also had people from charity organisations coming to tell them about their charity.
Weeks 3 and 4:
The final two weeks saw them develop a project to support a local charity. Working in their teams to raise money and to perform some good deed; for example: one team painted the rooms where the charity holds their meetings.
This programme has an abundance of substantial benefits that young students can gain; especially for the Deaf students as it allowed them total inclusion with no barriers.
Both students developed from being initially shy and reluctant to get involved, to become major team players in the charity project. This by far was the most rewarding part of the programme for me, and of course for the two young Deaf individuals who had achieved so much in a short space of time to last a whole lifetime! Supporting them has been a great experience for me and one that I hope I can repeat.
Clarion were proud to have made all the above possible for the two young Deaf customers by pulling out all the stops to provide the support at very short notice; further enhancing our unique partnership with Ingeus.
Ross Foster, Ingeus’ Contract Manager for the youth programme commented to Clarion’s UK Business Development Manager, Bob Marsh:
“I would like to place on record my sincere thanks for your efforts with this request. When I initially made contact on Tuesday I did not think there was any realistic chance that we would be in this position now and it speaks volumes for Clarion and you personally that you have managed to achieve such a positive outcome for us.”