Evening of Friday 27th of August Vanessa (my wife) and I headed into the Pentland Hills above Edinburgh. We were heading to Castlelaw Hill for the latest Youth Advantage Outreach course run by the Army.
YAO courses are an Army-led outreach course using military training that aim at boosting young people’s skills and steering them away from trouble.
The courses are aimed at young people in the 14-18 years age group who are minor offenders or on the periphery of offending.
Over five days at Castlelaw Farm, the young people take part in activities such as map-reading, sport, adventure training, first aid, drill and living in the field.
GAU has been asked a number of times to give talks at these courses. We have always been very happy to oblige for two reasons; firstly, to try and help to influence these youth to become positive members of society, and secondly, stepping back into a military environment brings back nice memories for me. Although I do get the mickey taken out of me for being ex-RAF.
The evening spent with these young ladies was quite wonderful. There was a good few tears and some very kind words from these ladies. Vanessa and I both were asked a great many questions.
Each and every day is packed full of experiences that these youth would not be able to enjoy otherwise, like the assault course, abseiling, mountain biking, archery & raft building, to name just a few.
Inspire, motivate, achieve and change……providing positive direction to youth in Scotland is the motto of the YAO. The course has changed many lives already for the better and I am sure will do in the future.
This course and ones like them are so important in helping to inspire our youth away from a possible life of offending. The staff at these courses are superb, all with skills to show and teach. These courses are not about recruitment, these courses are about changing lives.