Teens Head Out For Week Of Adventure

Teen riding bikes along a trail.

There’s nothing like hitting the road and experiencing new adventures.

That’s what teens from all four Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County clubhouses experienced. They took part in Teen Adventure Week. It’s a program designed to get them out of the Clubhouse and stretch their skills in a variety of areas.

Teens in canoes navigating the St. Joseph River. They tried their hands at rock climbing, biking and canoeing. Along the way, they were challenged to set goals and look at their direction and outlook on life with coaching from ULEAD.

The organization offers team building training to youth, youth workers and youth-serving organizations. The goal is to support leadership development, strengthen individual skills and build cohesive, effective communities and teams.

“In the rock climbing activity we looked at the concept of release — letting go of what isn’t helpful for us, what what isn’t moving us forward in life and finding something new to hold onto,” said ULEAD Program Architect Tyler Huston.

Teen climbing rock wall.Helping teens learn those kinds of lessons while they have fun is a plus, according to Mandy Gerber, Director of Programming and Training for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County.

“I know the Teen Adventure week has created some wonderful summer memories for the participating teens. We’re proud that we we are able to provide a unique adventure for them and look forward to continuing this experience in future summers,” Gerber said.

While some of the teens have taken part in the past, many were new this year. Huston said he enjoys seeing the excitement as the teens conquer new skills.

“They are trying new things, and I think that’s growth. This process has a long trajectory, so we’re hoping we’re planting seeds and thoughts that grow,” he said.

The lessons are already having an impact.

“There are some things in life that you’re trying to reach, but you may not actually get. You have to recognize that and be self-aware. I guess that’s what I have been trying to get better at, so this is helping me grow a little and helping me mature into the adult I want to be,” said David from the Nappanee Club.

Other teens say they’re excited to try new things — and getting to know other teens from around the county.

We’re outside in a different place than just Club. You get a different bonding experience with them than you will with being competitive in a sport,” said Matthew from the Nappanee Club.