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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



12 October 2014

Teenagers from St Benedict’s College in Randalstown and Cookstown High School were on the crest of a wave recently as they enjoyed the last of the Indian summer sunshine during a unique adventure challenge designed and developed in partnership with the Army Cadet Force Association.

The teenagers, working alongside Army Cadets, took part in a week long Community Outreach programme which took them out of their usual home and school environment - and out of their comfort zone.  During a demanding week on the glorious North Coast, the teens threw themselves into team building challenges and a range of high octane adventure sports including surfing, banana-boating, abseiling and rock climbing.  Mentally and physically demanding, the course helped them to build new friendships as well as self-esteem and a sense of achievement. 

Every successful Project Outreach participant earned an Open College Network Certificate and up to five credits towards qualifications from the Qualifications & Credit Framework (QCF).  They also gained basic First Aid qualifications through the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Start initiative which teaches people simple Emergency Life Support skills to help them know what to do in a life-threatening emergency.

Congratulating the young people on completing the course, Colonel David Kane, Cadet Commandant of 1st (Northern Ireland) Battalion Army cadet Force, said, “Most adults believe that teenagers spend far too much time on their mobiles or behind a computer screen, but, we believe that, when they are given an exciting alternative, most young people are up for the challenge – and the students from St Benedict’s College and Cookstown High School certainly proved us right!  They embraced and enjoyed the entire Outreach programme, and brought a sense of fun to every activity.

“Providing adventurous, fun challenges is central to the Cadet ethos so it seemed a very natural move for us to share some of those opportunities with the wider community under the ‘Outreach’ banner.  We were delighted to forge a positive partnership with the staff and students at these 2 schools for this latest Outreach event based at Bushmills.”

Outreach was run by the Army Cadet Force Association and managed on the ground (and in the ocean!) by experienced Adult Instructors from the Army Cadet Force, supported by senior Cadets who acted as role models, friends and mentors.  The young people were also very privileged to receive a visit from Mrs Joan Christie, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for the County of Antrim.

Colonel Kane said of the programme, “We were pleased and proud to put our skills and resources at the service of the local community and were delighted at the positive response.   The Project Outreach candidates were outstanding and we were all extremely impressed at just how much they learnt and achieved within a very short time frame. They are already a credit to their school and families and will no doubt continue to develop and achieve, given the opportunity, the right sort of challenges and the support of people who believe in them.”