Challenge Academy aims to get children active again
A Black Country outdoor learning specialist has launched a new Summer Reboot Camp to help young people affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Challenge Academy, which offers a host of aerial adventures and a testing 15 base ground challenge at its facility inside Baggeridge Country Park, is hoping to make up for time lost during the academic year by giving children a chance to develop new skills, have fun and enjoy socially distanced time with friends.
The social enterprise was aware that many working parents are unable to lean on grandparents this summer for childcare support, so decided to come up with an affordable summer programme to run every week during the school holidays.
No day will be the same, with youngsters - from seven years upwards - able to take part in sessions including high ropes, net courses, obstacle course, team building, forest skills and the woodland challenge.
The Summer Reboot Camp will run from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Thursdays for six weeks starting on 2020 July, with West Midlands schools able to make block bookings.
Mel Ellis, Founder of Challenge Academy, explained: “Children and parents have had their lives turned upside down over the last four months, many losing daily routines and unable to spend time with their friends…we believe we’ve come up with a solution.
“First and foremost, we want to inject fun back into their lives and this is what is at the heart of the Summer Reboot Camp. Young people will have the chance to tackle our aerial rope challenges or overcome the commando crawl, trail tacks balance, boulder wall or canyon swing.”
He continued: “However, there is a serious message here. All the activities we do will embed key skills into young people, so not only are they enjoying themselves, but they are actually benefitting from enriched learning - crucial after missing school for many months.
“Everything is Covid-19 secure and lots of measures are in place to ensure the safety of our participants. We even have sheltered areas on-site so, in the event of inclement weather, we will be able to carry on with our activity and stay dry.
“All sessions are run by qualified instructors, some of whom are experienced teachers and ex-military instructors with paediatric first aid and DBS certificates.”
Challenge Academy has invested over £250,000 into creating one of the region’s leading outdoor experiences, providing activities and courses to test and challenge both the young and the old.
The ground-based course, featuring 15 different obstacles, is the latest addition and is designed to test balance, determination and physical skills and complements the already popular nets and high rope courses.
“We reopened recently and it all went really well with lots of people visiting. Everyone was comfortable with what we are doing to keep them safe whilst still letting them have a good time,” continued Mel.
“2020 was shaping up to be our record year and I’m still confident it will be a good one despite Covid-19. Like many social enterprises, we used the downtime to complete all of the little jobs we never got around to and, in an exciting development, we’ve secured another £80,000 grant to increase our offer even further in the Winter.”
Challenge Academy, which also provides accessible outdoor learning opportunities to local businesses, communities, schools and hard to reach groups, secured £150,000 from the Resonance West Midlands Social Investment Tax Relief fund to accelerate its development, one of the largest SITR investments in the region to date.