Challenge and Adventure was started in 1992, initially to help young people from the Isle of Wight, who were struggling with life. It could have been in education, their home situation, lack of confidence, low esteem and for some – becoming involved in petty criminal activity.
It was felt by some Police Officers (Graham and Mark Pontin, both involved in the Scout movement) and later other agencies, including the Youth Service, that a group could be created to try and bring some of these young people, usually aged 13–16, together and encourage them to take part in activities that they perhaps, never thought they could have the opportunity to take part in.
Hence the name, Challenge and Adventure.
For most it was a ‘challenge’ and it certainly was an ‘adventure’. Within a short time, Challenge and Adventure was a success and was able to provide facilities and activities for 3 groups consisting of 10-12 young people each year. Each group came for 12 weeks and were encouraged to take part in activities, including camping in Wales, rock climbing, horse riding and on occasions even choosing an activity they wanted to take part in.
For some the opportunity to take part in a Youth Exchange was offered and visits to Finland, Greece and Norway were undertaken. For many it was a marvellous experience. Even after Graham retired, Gary Meek and Phil Wells carried on with the project and expanded its work with the disadvantaged young people.
Hopefully it will continue to help Young People from the Island to find their way in life and make them feel positive about their way forward.