How to Help Young People Transition Into Adulthood
In this article How To Help Young People Transition Into Adulthood, Betty Ray highlights some of the key ways that as a whole community we can support young people prepare for what can sometimes seem like a daunting future. We could not agree more.
Whilst resilience, empathy, creativity, critical thinking, social and emotional capabilities are widely acknowledged as the key skills to build and teach young people. We are still grappling with the “ how to” element. These are not skills that come through reading or completing worksheets but through the experience of feeling and doing and practice as a result of navigating real life situations with real life consequences.
Outdoor Adventure and Challenge
At AdventureWorks WA we have a history of working in the outdoors with young people. We have seen the impact and changes these experiences can have for people at any age. Pushing ourselves outside beyond our limits and learning from success and failure and actually feeling the physical, and emotional results of our experience.
Social and Emotional Learning
We also know that nothing is learnt or embedded by taking part in a three day camp once a year. Social and emotional capabilities, like any other skill need to be learned, modelled to us, practiced regularly to build comfort, confidence and skill. When teaching and learning we set our sights on a level of conscious competence and this only comes with doing something over and over.
In just the same way we build the knowledge of maths or the skills of tennis, we learn, we practice we get comfortable, confident and then we take it to the next stage by adding more layers of learning and then we practice some more. This cycle continues as we build and grow our new neural pathways, develop muscle memory, and when we chose, we can take our passions and skills to the level of mastery.
I wonder how many of us would say that we have reached Mastery in being an Adult?
Rite of Passage
To support this ongoing learning and development towards adulthood, AdventureWorks WA has built upon the foundations of our Rite of Passage and outdoor expeditions. This is to develop a range of resources and programs that can support families and schools to be the supporting structures and systems around our young people as they navigate their own journey at this significant age.
Into Adulthood online
Our new e-Learning program, Into Adulthood Online, provides week by week resources and learning tools that have practical applications for students to put into use regularly and often. With 4 modules, each building upon the last there is new content every term. Learn more Here.
Adventure Works WA Rite of Passage program has been designed to consider the health curriculum. Also the general capabilities using researched and trusted frameworks of positive psychology, experiential learning and mindfulness. The building of social and emotional skills is proven to support wellbeing. It also increase the capacity to flourish in health, work and relationships.
We work with students to consider life from their own perspective. To find their inner gifts and passion. To create plans to support their own self-care and to build a compelling and personal vision for their future. Our mission is for them to become fully engaged in the journey to the adult they want to become. Also, to take the reins and not just let life happen to them.
Our facilitators meet online with small groups to “check in” and run activities. This provides the opportunity for students to share their experiences, success and challenges in a safe and supported environment. The program builds and grow connection between the cohort and with their teacher. It also encourages activities and conversations and connection with parents, elders and other family members.
The online program can be delivered along side other school workshops and parent events by AdventureWorks. Which together, builds a whole school approach. Also builds a culture of a supported and scaffolded rite of passage for our young people. Traditionally families, villages and the elders provided knowledge and skills. There was a focus on what the community needed to survive: i:e. hunting, farming, warring. Our purposefully designed, online and face to face programs, support the growth of skills that are considered necessary in people, young and old, to build healthy, safe and inclusive communities today.
Rite of Passage Camp
Our specifically designed Into Adulthood camp or expeditions provide the separation and liminality stage of the rite of passage. French ethnographer Arnold van Gennep describes this process in his book “ Le Rites des Passages”. The students leave their “normal world” to put to the test the skills they have been learning and practising throughout the year. They undergo challenge, make decisions, experience discomfort, failure and success, all of which is shared and celebrated along the way. In a space somewhere between child and adult they are supported and acknowledged by their community for the gifts they bring and their commitment towards becoming an adult.
At AdventureWorks we love what we do and our clients share the same passion. That is to support young people find their own unique pathway to adulthood. No one human has the same way of experiencing the world and our passion is to support young people find what that is for them.
In the process of supporting and growing others we create a space to continually grow and learn more about ourselves and how we fit into the world. We are experiencing along with our clients, that it is never too late to learn, unlearn and relearn, no matter our age.
We are having an awesome journey with an awesome tribe of people.