Outward Bounds Adventure Centre
The adventure centre is situated in Park West Business Park adjacent to the Grand Canal, which is an ideal location for many of the activities & programmes it provides.
Our aim for the centre is to engage young people in our targeted groups and involve them in positive recreational activity. Through this involvement in exciting and very social activities we hope to develop core life skills such as: respect, teamwork, communication skills, and improving physical well-being as well as an awareness of self, others and the environment. We also promote a ‘Leave no Trace’ policy.
Throughout the year the young people have participated in a wide variety of programmes including, Intro to Kayaking & Open Canoeing, Irish Canoe Union Level 1 proficiency in kayaking, Mountain Biking & Bike agility as well as multidisciplinary adventure sports programmes, including rock climbing, orienteering, fishing, snorkelling, gorge walking, hillwalking, camping & overnight expeditions & residentials.
Most groups meet once a week for a minimum of 2 hours. The centre also works closely with other agencies within Ballyfermot who target specific ‘at risk’ groups such as early school leavers, Garda Diversion projects, young people already involved in the justice system and provides them with an outdoor education option for their programmes.
Organisations We Work With
In 2011 we worked with the following organisations amongst others:
WHAD, ABLE, BASE Young Parents Groups, St. Ultan’s Care Unit, Ballyfermot Travellers Action Project, Equine Centre Early School Leavers, The Life Centre, St Dominic’s Junior School Completion Programme & Mary Queen of Angles SCP.
We run the activity section of accredited programmes helping young people who are out of formal education to gain qualifications & formal recognition. This year it included BYS support for 4 young people in achieving their Gold Gaisge Award, 5 Achieved their FETAC Level 3 in Kayaking and 6 achieved their FETAC Level 3 in Outdoor Pursuits.
Irish Canoe Union Personal Kayaking Proficiency Award were achieved by:
- 51 Discovery Level
- 48 Level 1
- 8 Level 2
- 2 Level 3
4 have completed their Level 3 training.
Kayaking & Mountain Biking Sports Clubs
In 2011 we started two specific sports clubs which were a youth Kayaking Club and a Mountain Biking Club. The aim was to introduce a high skill level and competitive element for the young people that were dedicated to the sport. The Kayak club comprises of young people who have shown an aptitude, interest and enthusiasm for the sport. We also have 3 Junior leaders who have come up through other clubs and groups run by the centre over the past few years.
Recently they took part in the Junior Liffey Descent and in August travelled to Wales. They camped in the village of Bala on the banks of the Tryweran River which is one of the most popular kayaking destinations in Europe for young kayakers and clubs. It offers exciting dam controlled white-water up to grade 4 and a perfect safe training ground for groups to practice skills while getting a taste of the travelling culture which kayaking has to offer.
The Club is currently fundraising to go to Slovenia next year which is a highly renowned area for white water paddling. The Mountain Biking club involved 12 young boys from Ballyfermot. They trained on various downhill and dirt bike tracks around Wicklow. They took part in the Kippure Mountain Biking Summer Racing series where one youth won a bronze medal.
Due to the popularity in Mountain Biking as an activity with the young people, our bikes have had a great deal of use and are reaching the end of their useful life in the centre. Therefore, with the help of over 40 young people we have been fundraising to purchase new bikes by the end of the year. As part of the International Surfrider River and Coastal Clean up, 22 young people were involved in filling 2 large skips from the clean up of the Grand Canal at the 7th Lock.
Allegra Lalor, Outward Bounds Centre Coordinator/Senior Instructor
Ger O’Reilly, Outward Bound Instructor