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Definition of a Trailblazer “A person who makes a new track through wild country.… the first to do something; an innovator.”

(Oxford Dictionary)

What a hive of activity at Camp Xplode HQ. It’s only March, yet so much has happened already this year, from new group names to new venues opening across the county AND our brand new big brother company, The Tribal Way all set to open its (invisible) doors this Summer. And, today, we bring more news still to our camp following!

In Spring, we’ll be launching our new not-for-profit Trailblazers programme at Camp Redkite in Leeds, an initiative we’ve created to help teenagers aged 14-16yrs develop skills to navigate through life with courage.

Three in every four mental illnesses start in childhood and 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24

Over the years, we’ve received all types of children at our camps and we’ve come to realise, many are lacking in self-confidence and need encouragement to give things a go. We’ve also learned those who engage in regular physical activity, or attend an organisation such as the Scouts or DofE – with their focus on outdoor pursuits – are often among those more eager to participate at camp. Elsewhere, studies claim 75% of children spend less time outside than people in a prison institutions and the rise in technology is creating an epidemic of low physical and mental well-being, increased obesity and behavioural problems such as ADHD. Exam expectations are at their highest, whilst an ‘always on’ society and social media fuelled ‘Fear of Missing Out’ is reducing teens to their lowest.

At Camp Xplode, we believe young people need a break from the pressures of their daily life. They need to increase time spent exercising, to challenge themselves and take risks. To experience a sense of failure and discover ways to pick themselves back up. To learn how to process emotion without shutting themselves off; how to speak out, listen, support and communicate. Our Trailblazers programme provides young people with a forum to come out of their shell, try something new and, in turn, find their unique and special “me”. Through various activities designed for any young adults, our trailblazers can be themselves without judgement and gain skills for adulthood, whilst developing a true sense of self-worth and confidence which allows them to follow whatever path they choose.

We are building a community, where teenagers can connect with other people and create real life, personal connections with their peers inspiring one another to lead bold, visionary lives

The term Trailblazers is rather fitting, what with our love for the great outdoors! Although a Trailblazer doesn’t have to be someone who takes others on a hiking expedition; whilst they might, they’re by no means limited to this! Perhaps some of our Trailblazers will indeed go on to become youth leaders – maybe even at Camp Xplode! – and yet what we really want for our Trailblazers is for them to proceed on and pursue life as they see fit. The skills they obtain, physical and social, are all transferable so whilst leadership is great for working in and amongst other young people, it is equally good in a boardroom, hospital or engineering plant, and so on. So is self-worth, knowing how to problem-solve and effective methods for communication. In summary, to a Trailblazer, the sky’s the limit

How to turn Trailblazer? It starts with our values… 

“Be Fearless”, “Dust yourself off and keep going!” and “Believe in YOU” are just some of our guidelines designed to encourage positivity and self-belief. Trailblazers are introduced to our guidelines at the beginning of the programme so they become familiar with our ethos from the very outset. From here, it’s onto our many and varied activities, most taught onsite and with set outcomes in mind and others performed elsewhere in line with the week’s camp focus. 

We do like our Trailblazers to stay with us for the week – although we understand some may prefer to attend for just a day or two. Either way is fine and we celebrate every achievement along the way, large or small. As ever, with Camp Xplode, we’ll encourage campers to reach for the stars and give everything a go; but ultimately this is their camp and a little chill-out time is quite OK too!

Fancy your chances as a Trailblazer? Join our camp this Easter and see what we’re all about!