Teenage years can be challenging at the best of times. The transition from childhood to adulthood is a stage of life when young people can struggle the most, experiencing issues around body image, self-esteem, mental health, confidence, independence, bullying and relationships. It goes without saying that navigating your way through these years whilst additionally coping with a serious illness can be extremely challenging.
For many years, Over The Wall has catered for teenagers with a serious illness, providing activities and challenges within an environment that address their physical, social and emotional needs.
For the first time ever, OTW is dedicating an entire camp solely for the needs of teenagers, offering a range of age appropriate activities, which these young people may otherwise struggle to access.
We are also delighted to announce that Matt King OBE will be attending camp to deliver a motivational workshop. Alongside his legal career as a solicitor for the ROKiT Williams Racing Formula One Team, Matt is a professional speaker, motivating and inspiring his audiences to overcome adversity, defy expectations, and to achieve their goals. Taking his first steps on the ladder towards a professional rugby career, Matt’s life was changed forever when a tackle just 20 seconds into a match broke his neck, severed his spinal cord and left him clinging to life at the age of 17. Matt now travels the UK and has even given a Tedx talk on topics such as change and resilience, challenge and something close to our own hearts here at OTW – thriving not just surviving.
The camp will take place at Kings Park in Northampton from 2 October – 4 October and applications are now open for 13-17 year-olds – with interest being shown already, families are advised to apply now.
Michelle Ainsworth, Head of Camper Recruitment at OTW said:
“We are very excited to launch this new camp – health challenges at any time of life can be very difficult to cope with, but with the added pressure of approaching adulthood, coping with illness can really make teenagers struggle. We are thrilled that Matt will be joining us to help inspire our campers, and with talks to help motivate the NHS and the national England Rugby League team under his belt, we’re assured a moving and affirmative experience.”
Helping campers gain independence
Teenagers naturally crave independence and the freedom to experience new things, however, a young person with a health challenge is likely to be more dependent on parents and adults and therefore, the freedom they desire is often compromised.
At OTW we aim to empower campers in their teenage years, to be more independent, to gain self-confidence, and to make steps in coping with and managing their illness. Our camps are built on a model of ‘Therapeutic Recreation’, which has consistently shown to benefit the self-esteem and psychological function of young people suffering from serious illness.
Experiencing a health challenge as a child often has a negative impact on confidence and self-esteem that can continue into the teenage years. This can be due to missing out on the opportunities where other children naturally bond, (through sports or other activities), the inconsistency of their time at school due to hospital and doctor appointments, or simply feeling like they are treated differently, or ‘stand out’ amongst their peers.
Over The Wall camp offers each young person a place where they can be themselves, and not be defined by their illness, providing opportunities to build strong and lasting friendships. We offer a safe, fun, positive and supportive environment, and aim to challenge and encourage campers in a way that helps strengthen and develop their self-esteem and confidence. Through individual and group successes throughout camp, we recognise when a camper succeeds and ensure they also appreciate their achievements at camp.
Overcoming challenges helps our campers to learn something new about themselves – enabling their self-esteem to grow, confidence to rise and allowing them to better understand their true potential.
OTW’s Teen Camp 2020
This year’s Teen Camp will be the first of its kind, tailored specifically to meet the physical, social and medical needs of the young people attending. The camp will provide a programme of age-appropriate activities, all of which aim to increase the confidence and self-esteem of campers, addressing the isolation and exclusion teenagers with serious illness often experience. Planned workshops include themes on diversity, art therapy, positive body image and more, and activities will include climbing, archery and rollerskating.
“These are activities that young people with health challenges can often struggle to access – Over The Wall is all about empowering young people to see beyond their perceived limitations and try and experience new things. We can’t wait to welcome OTW Teen Camp 2020!”