Young people who are enthusiastic and have a love of outdoor adventures have volunteered their time to apply for and undergo the assistant Instructor Programme run by Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre.
Part of the Department of Education and Children’s Youth Centre, Ardwhallan, in West Baldwin, delivers outdoor education to schools and other groups of young people, including those working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
With the sponsorship from the Isle of Man Masonic Charity, Ardwhallan has been able to continue this highly successful scheme, enabling young instructors to develop leadership skills.
Over the course of a year, assistant instructors will be taught archery, assault course, climbing, mountain biking, canoeing, sailing, water rescue skills and bush craft and will receive instruction in outdoor first aid.
As they gain experience, they will help established instructors deliver courses and holiday schemes under supervision.
They will also take part in residential trips away to the UK, experiencing activities that are not available locally.
Keith Dalrymple, Provincial Grand Master of the Isle of Man Province and President of the Isle of Man Masonic Charity enthusiastically encourages Freemasons to be involved with and contribute to a broad range of Community Activities stating ‘We are in and of our Community, supporting young people as they equip themselves for a positive future whilst providing a service to Society sits perfectly with the ethos of Freemasonry. Having the ability to pass on potentially life changing and enhancing experiences to others will, undoubtedly, help develop character and confidence in these young Leaders of the future, and Freemasonry is pleased to assist.’
Paul Melling, Head of Centre, said ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for young people who enjoy being in and perhaps aspire to a career working in outdoor education to gain both the technical and softer skills they need in a highly supportive environment.’
Volunteers, who must be aged 16 to 21, must commit one evening a week plus one morning or afternoon a weekend, although some of the tuition runs over an entire weekend.
Some of the training is ‘in house’ while other segments give participants national governing body awards.
Aspects of the programme count towards the Skills, Physical and Volunteering section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
For several assistant instructors, the programme has proved a stepping stone to careers in outdoor education.
Calum Johnson, who took part in the scheme last year, enjoyed his year so much that he signed up for a full-time trainee instructor position at Ardwhallan for a gap year this year.
Kirree Radcliff, who also took part in last year’s scheme is now approaching the end of her first year at University of Derby Buxton, where she has been studying a BA in Outdoor Activity Leadership and Coaching. She said the year spent volunteering at Ardwhallan ’fuelled my passion for the outdoors and enabled me to access valuable qualifications and gain experience in a leadership role.’
Ardwhallan Outdoor Education Centre is also on Facebook.