This year’s Youth Work Week theme is Wellbeing. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the youth work sector; innovation, achievements and resilience while focusing on the 5 steps to wellbeing.
Evidence from NHS and Mind shows there are 5 steps to wellbeing; Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. And Challenge Wales’ innovative youth work programme, its sail training programme which takes young people to sea, naturally encompasses these.
During Youth Work Week we are working with young people at sea who are sailing Challenge Wales from Cardiff, around Lands End, to Gosport and then racing with over 1,000 boats in one of the most iconic events in the nautical calendar. It’s a challenge, but one of the best opportunities to learn teamwork skills, resilience, communication, develop confidence, have fun while meeting different people.
So how do our activities link in with the 5 steps to wellbeing?
CONNECT: Social relationships and being valued are so important for people’s wellbeing. In sail training you will be speaking to new people, you will be connecting with your friends, our volunteers (who are informal youth workers) will be asking how you are getting on and, working as part of a team onboard gives you that sense of belonging.
BE ACTIVE: Regular activity is associated with reducing depression and anxiety across all age groups. Chemical changes in your brain can positively change your mood while doing exercise. Although we will be sailing on a boat, you will be winching and hoisting sails, moving around the boat and using different muscles to keep you balanced. Having some downtime in the evening onboard means a nice stroll to explore a new port, and getting those steps in. Sail training gives you a good workout in the outdoors.
TAKE NOTICE: Being in the present moment can help your mental wellbeing. Take notice of your thoughts, your feelings, your body and the world around you. When out at sea you will have time to sit and reflect, to relax and talk to appreciate the salt spray on your skin and breathing the fresh air. You will be keeping a look out while on board so being aware of what is around you is important.
LEARN: Our amazing volunteer crew are there to help you learn and that will happen from the moment you step onboard. From learning about sea safety, to learning how to put up sails. Learning about ocean literacy, plankton and microplastics to learning nautical terminology. Evidence shows learning a new skill can boost confidence and self esteem while helping you to connect with your fellow crew mates.
GIVE: Small acts of kindness can help your mental wellbeing. While our volunteers are donating their time to crew a sail training voyage, those taking part in the voyage will all play their part. Helping to tidy up, helping to wash up, helping to look after each other. Our boats sail best when we have a very happy crew so looking after each other is key.
Happy Youth Work Week everyone.
If you’re interested in jumping onboard Challenge Wales or Adventure Wales to improve your mental health and wellbeing, connect to the ocean, make new friends, learn a new skill or hone an old one then get in touch by calling 029 20 704657 or emailing the Challenge Wales office.