We are so excited to have recently launched the Youth Development Programme (YDP) for 16-19 year olds, and initial interest has been extremely positive! In this blog, we explore the benefits of the programme, and find out why you might like to book your place. From meeting new friends and learning about a new culture, to making a difference to the lives of others and adding an incredible experience to your CV – the question is more ‘Why wouldn’t you get involved?’
Who is the Youth Development Programme for?
The programme is for 16-19 year olds who want to take part in an amazing experience which starts with fundraising, gaining independence and developing new skills, and culminates in making new friends, stepping outside of comfort zones and learning about new cultures on a life-changing trip to Africa. The way that our trips are organised means that young people can maintain a certain level of independence – travelling to Africa without your family – whilst still travelling within a safe and supportive framework. Instead of setting off to the other side of the world on your own, and organising everything from flights to accommodation yourself, you can take a trip with us and we will take care of everything for you. What’s more, you will be part of a team of young people who will all share the experience with you.
How is the Youth Development Programme structured?
Following sign-up, the programme is split into three phases, clearly outlining the different stages of the journey.
- Preparation Phase: This is the time for you to find out all about your chosen destination country (either Ghana, Kenya or Zanzibar) and to fundraise for your trip. Check out our ‘Trip Preparation’ section on My African Adventure, which provides you with fundraising ideas and resources. Keep a log of your fundraisers – what worked? Why? How much did you raise? What could you improve next time?
- Action Phase: It’s time to travel to Africa – volunteer at our partner projects, immerse yourself in a new culture, learn about a beautiful country, make new friends, step outside of your comfort zone, and learn new skills.
- Reflection Phase: With so many new experiences in such a short period, it’s time to look back on all that you have achieved over the past year. Complete and return your YDP Logbook to receive a certificate of completion for the programme, which you can proudly show off when applying for future education or employment opportunities.
What is the Youth Development Programme all about?
The Youth Development Programme is an experience spread over 9-12 months which involves fundraising to cover the costs of the programme, a challenging and worthwhile volunteering experience in Africa – coupled with some adventure activity time – and documentation of the journey through the compilation of a logbook. The volunteering aspect involves supporting with teaching and sports coaching for children typically aged 5-16, and assisting with renovation and building work for our partner projects, which can include anything from moulding bricks for new school buildings, to painting interior classroom walls in order to create a more engaging learning environment. Away from volunteering, we have organised a weekend adventure activity to allow volunteers to see the beauty and wonder of Africa. Our different adventure activities are educational, breathtaking and eye-opening, and an opportunity to recharge after the hard work you have put into volunteering.
What support will I receive on the Youth Development Programme?
From the moment you sign up to the programme, you will have the support of our UK staff to answer any queries you have. In addition to this, you will have access to our online portal – My African Adventure – which includes a wealth of information about fundraising, the destination you are visiting (covering everything from weather to cultural norms), the itinerary for your time in Africa, and the impact that our volunteer trips have.
From the moment you arrive at the airport in the UK, you will be supported by an African Adventures Group Leader, who will accompany your group at all times and be your point of call should you need support or guidance at any time. You will also have a dedicated Trip Host who will ensure that the programme runs smoothly in Africa and will provide you with helpful local knowledge. We pride ourselves on our excellent support systems, and we are confident that the staff involved in your trips will not only be a great help to you but will enhance the experience that you have. You can be sure that you are travelling with a trusted and experienced company when you choose to travel with us.
Who benefits from the Youth Development Programme?
There are many potential benefits, both for those joining the programme and our partner projects in Africa.
For young people to really get the most from the programme, motivation, enthusiasm and proactivity are key; it is true that the more you give, the more you will get back. Year after year, volunteers who throw themselves into their fundraising demonstrate that it is possible to raise the entirety of the trip funds, which is a commendable achievement. This often enhances the experience that follows, because these volunteers feel like they have really earned the experience through their efforts. Through fundraising, there is the opportunity to gain skills in entrepreneurship, communication and negotiation, as well as developing a truer appreciation of the value of money. On the trip itself, volunteers learn about new cultures, teamwork, compassion, and different ways to communicate, as well as picking up practical skills such as painting, aspects of building work, and standing in front of a class to help deliver lessons. Finally, on your return home, you will have an incredible and unique experience to include on your CV, and to reference when applying for further education or job opportunities, making you stand out from the rest.
Our partner projects benefit from the programme through the financial and humanitarian support that the trips bring. We work with projects that need our support to help maintain and develop their facilities, in order that they may provide opportunity for children in the local area. Many of the projects lack the necessary facilities, or the facilities need improving, and that is where our volunteers can help. In addition, our volunteers can provide teaching assistance in classrooms where there is overcrowding and a lack of resources, meaning that more children can access the support they need. We work with our partner projects to identify the needs of each project and what we can reasonably commit to helping with, meaning that we are providing the help that is wanted, and that we have organised project work in place for when the programmes take place.
How can I get involved in this exciting new programme?
It couldn’t be easier to get involved in this opportunity. Visit our YDP page for all the details about the trips we have available for next summer. Simply book now to get your journey started! We will then be in touch to provide you with all the information you need to start the programme. If you need a little more information about what’s involved, why not register your interest or give us a call? We can provide you with any details you need and get you on your way!
So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today and start preparing for next summer’s trip of a lifetime.