A YOUTH group has joined a national drive to encourage teenagers to support their communities and boost their employment prospects.
Springboard Sunderland is holding the Summer of a Lifetime programme in a bid to inspire young people from a range of backgrounds to work together, take on new challenges and engage in their communities.
Brian Watson, volunteering development manager with the group, said they will be organising a wide range of events next summer, including outdoor activities, problem-solving sessions and team-building exercises.
“Summer of a Lifetime is a free and challenging opportunity, offering young people the chance to improve skills, make new and lasting friendships and have loads of fun,” he said. “It is aimed at young people in the current Year 11 who will reach their 16th birthday before August 2012 and are up for a challenge over the next summer holidays.
“We want to give them the opportunity to get out there take part in a range of events.
“School leavers are finding it increasingly difficult to find work and often they fall into a routine of doing nothing.
“This is all about getting them involved in activities and showing them that there is another option.”
The scheme is part of the National Citizen Service programme, which aims to help young people develop the skills and attitudes they need to become more engaged with their communities and become active and responsible citizens.
The initiative works with schools, local authorities, businesses and other neighbourhood groups to create a more “responsible and engaged” society.
“It will be one of the most motivational and rewarding experiences of the young person’s life,” said Mr Watson. “It will give many young people the opportunity to gain confidence, develop new skills, meet new people, make a difference to their local community, be challenged and most importantly, have great fun doing it.
“The activities are spread over a two-week residential during the summer holidays.
“We’ll have outdoor activities, including canoeing and camping, as well as problem-solving and team-building challenges.
“We will also be holding social activity sessions, where young people can carry out community work and help local volunteer groups or the elderly.”
For more information, call 515 5300 or 564 0291, email BWatson@springboard-ne.org, or visit www.springboard-ne.org.uk or www.vinspired.com.