Oliva ‘Livs’ Whitehouse joined the Instructor Training Programme (ITP) in September 2021 and is based at the Frontier Centre in Northamptonshire.
“The first three months of our ITP was spent training at the Whithaugh Park site in the Scottish Borders and it was an experience for which I’ll always be grateful.
The training is intense but really brings your group together as a family. It was amazing living with such a mix of people from different backgrounds and seeing what everyone brought to the group.
At first it was a bit of a shock moving to the Scottish centre as it’s so rural. It takes time to adjust but the leaders have so much care and time for everyone to support them. At the start I felt quite anxious which I thought was a weakness but the leaders showed me that it was strength and I could use this to demonstrate empathy with the people we are teaching.
There was a combination of classroom teaching and outdoor, physical learning. This meant that we were able to learn everything we needed to be able to carry out the main activities that we run safely and start working towards our qualifications.
Everyone in the group starts off in the same boat and after three months it’s crazy to see how you’ve grow in physical skills and soft skills. For me, it was also the opportunity to have my faith challenged and stretched and it really opened my eyes. The teaching really helped me to grow and be more open. Those first three months were some of the best of my life.
When you are back at your own centre, it’s time to put everything you have learnt into practice. It’s been amazing to see the difference we are making in lives of the kids that we meet.
I’ve had several experiences with kids that have said say they can’t do something and then through our encouragement and training, they have overcome their fears.
One example is when a young girl that visited us as part of a school group who was really anxious about harnesses because of a bad experience during a family holiday. She was terrified, but she came to the top of the abseiling tower and eventually took the plunge and got the bottom. There was sheer joy on her face when she succeeded and her teacher was cheering. It was awesome to be able to help her overcome a traumatic experience.
What a gift to be able to create such an amazing experience for these kids when they might not normally be able to do these sorts of activities.
For anyone looking to join the ITP I would say, 100% do it. Everyone is capable of doing it. You’ve just got to have an open heart and be motivated to see kids lives changed. The ITP changes you a lot as well, no matter how scared you are just take that step and let God lead you. It surprised me how much the ITP has impacted my life and continues to do so. I would recommend it to anyone.”