What is Branch Out?
Branch Out has been developed in partnership with the Scottish Outdoor Education Centres. The programme aims to enable school leavers and young people with autism to develop the qualities, skills, knowledge and experience they will need in the worlds of work, further study and adult life. Through exploring the therapeutic quality of the outdoors we aim to help develop:
- Communication skills;
- Decision making;
- Teamwork, cooperative working;
- Leadership and the ability to delegate;
- Creativity and innovation;
- Appreciation for a healthier and more active lifestyle;
- Resilience, tenacity and determination as well as adaptability;
- Understanding risk & risk management;
- Ability to reflect on their own potential and contribution to society/group;
- Appreciation of others, their place, and contribution;
- Personal management (e.g. time);
- Positive attitude toward problem solving;
- Enhanced motivation; and
- “Can-do” growth mind set.
Over 18 sessions participants will take part in activities such as archery, crate climbs, woodland walks, shelter building, canoeing and rock climbing. We will incorporate activities that will promote team work and leadership such as river rescue and an ‘incident hike’. Young people will be encouraged to reflect on how they feel before, during and after each activity to allow them to realise what they have achieved and the obstacles they have overcome to get there.
Parents and carers will also be invited to take part in in some of the activities their children have undertaken. There will also be another family day that the young people will plan and lead. During the pilot project this was a Bonfire Night party and night walk guided by the young people themselves.
On one level the project will provide young people with autism the chance to try new activities in a safe and supported setting. The activities will take them outwith their normal sphere of activity, stimulating and challenging them physically and emotionally while being supported by people they can trust. They will learn about the natural environment and the living world and be encouraged to see the intrinsic value of caring for natural habitats. Most importantly, they will have lots of opportunities to have fun with their peers.
Who is Branch Out for?
Branch Out is for young people aged 16-18. We understand that some of the activities may seem challenging and demanding for some, but we will assess any referrals that come in on an individual basis. If your child has more complex, challenging care needs then these can be discussed with our Care & Support staff before a place is confirmed.
There will be space for 15 young people to take part in Branch Out.
Where is it held?
Beginning in September 2017 Branch Out will take place at the Scottish Outdoor Education Centres at Broomlee. Occasionally activities may take place at other locations, but families will be informed of this in advance.
Click here to visit their website and find out more about Scottish Outdoor Education Centres.
How to get involved.
Initial spaces at Branch Out will be given to those who have been attending our services for a number of years, particularly those who have completed the Basecamp 2 programme. Any spaces available after this will be opened to our members, and then the general public. If your child has taken part in Basecamp 2, or if you are a member, feel free to contact our office now to register your interest. Otherwise you can follow our Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date with announcements about available spaces at Branch Out.