The 2020 Youth Sports Trust Conference | Rockley


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The 2020 Youth Sports Trust Conference

Schools. advisor Cath reflects on her time at the Youth Sports Trust Conference where the focus was on student well being and happiness.

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I have always been passionate about the mental and physical wellbeing of both children and adults, however, listening to guest speakers and networking at the 2020 Youth Sports Trust Conference last week really reinforced this. Being immersed in such a positive environment, surrounded by people who change young people’s lives for the better every single day really ignited my passions for Rockley’s trips and the difference they make. 

“I want young people to have the courage to follow their own path in life. It takes confidence to believe in who you are… just have courage in your own convictions and you’ll ultimately give yourself the freedom to #findyourhappy in life” Ben Smith, Director of the YST 401 challenge


So how can we really promote confidence in young people and prepare them to find their own path in life? In today’s society where there is the social pressure to conform and to achieve academically combined with the media pressure to look and behave a certain way, to ‘be popular’ and feel like you ‘fit in,’ it’s not surprising that young people often struggle to maintain a sense of self-belief. 

It was really interesting to learn about the Youth Sport Trust ‘Journey to Wellbeing Education Programme’. The programme is structured around five ways to good mental health and wellbeing:

  • Give back
  • Connect
  • Learn
  • Take notice 
  •  Be active

This got me thinking about the importance of residential trips and how they link to the YST themes to shape a young person’s future. 

Give Back

Whilst on a Rockley residential young people find themselves in situations that they may not have experienced before and are sometimes out of their comfort zone. Giving to others can be as simple as giving time, thought or attention. Throughout all of our activities young people are encouraged to work together, help each other and offer advice and encouragement which also boosts their own happiness. Friendships are formed and developed and the small gesture of kindness can go a long way. 


Communication is key in life and during a Rockley residential, young people are placed in an environment where it is difficult not to develop your communication skills! 

‘45% of young people aged 10-15 reported being lonely either some or all of the time’.  YST Journey to Wellbeing research

At Rockley everyone works together - we are one big family where no one is left out. Everyone is encouraged to connect with the people around them which in turn helps individuals to connect at home, school and in the community. 



Learning is often about trying something new. Learning something new will make you more confident as well as having fun. For some young people they have never visited the beach or been on the water before so learning to sail, kayak or stand up paddleboard is a totally new and exciting experience! When on our trips you are often learning without even realising it!

For pupils who are less academic the day they start participating in sport could be the day they start achieving! On a residential trip, in an outside environment, youngsters are not judged based on their academic achievements but instead are valued in different ways and discover new ways of being successful

Take Notice

We encourage students to be aware of, and take in their surroundings, enjoy the moment and be aware of themselves, their feelings and the world around them. This helps to manage emotions, relax and puts a new perspective on the stresses of modern life.

As Rockley’s trips focus on the great outdoors young people forget about screen time which releases stress and anxiety. 


Be Active

You do plenty of this on a Rockley Adventure Trip, however often in ways that are different; more engaging and exciting than traditional sports activities. 

There are so many benefits to getting active, including making you feel good about yourself as well as physical wellbeing. 

Overall, I am a firm believer that sport and adventure trips unify people. Getting outdoors in a natural playground should be at the heart of schools and communities. 

‘When we play, life gets better’

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