Created in 2017, the Supercamp has gone from strength to strength, with the tenth course just wrapped up and another week of events planned for October. The challenge is open to young people aged between 14 and 18 and prior to the pandemic, the British Army offered the challenge as a three-day residential course, which gave participants an opportunity to get a true sense of what being in the Armed Forces is like.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the course is currently being run as a one-day event limited to one school a day with the challenge starting up at 9am and finishing at 3pm with a presentation and award ceremony at the end. The youth challenge is run by the fourth Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East, a new adaptable force brigade based in Yorkshire and the North East.
The challenge is run simultaneously in two locations. The Yorkshire location is held at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Strensall, North Yorkshire. The other is in the Albemarle Barracks in Northumberland, just over ten miles from Newcastle-Under-Tyne.
Young people on the course get a taste of what being in the military is like through completing activities such as an outside obstacle course, laser shooting, paintballing, camouflage and surveillance, and a brief talk on opportunities available within the British Army.
Schools and youth organisations from across Yorkshire and the North East are able to take part in the challenge, with Bradford Academy, Oastlers School, and schools from across Huddersfield and West Yorkshire recently taking part.
Major Robert Humphries, the lead for the army youth engagement team for the 4th Infantry Brigade and the North East, said: The Army Youth Challenge Course is all about young people coming to see their army. It is about them learning about the opportunities that are available to them in their army learning about themselves and learning about leadership and teamwork.”
The action-packed fun day is fully funded by the 4th Infantry Brigade and Headquarters North East. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, they ask that each child comes with a packed lunch and ask the school to provide their own transport where applicable. If the schools don’t have the means to provide transport, then there is an option for the army to transportation to and from the site.
The next chance to take part in the challenge is between 11 October and 21 October, with spaces filling up fast. Next year’s dates are yet to be confirmed but with provisional dates looking at the end of March and early April and the second and third week of October.
The youth challenge is also an opportunity to introduce the idea of different career paths to young people who may not have thought about their future careers. Major Humphries said: “Part of what we do is informing young people. It is important that every part of society in the army is represented. It is important that all parts of the society take a career in the army and for us to be inclusive and diverse.”
Young people can join the army at the age of 16 as a junior entry soldier at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate, with enrolment starting at 15 and 7 months. At the foundation college, the young soldiers will learn skills from map reading to how to handle a weapon.
Once the course at Harrogate is finished, the young person will be old enough, trained and ready to join a unit, as a soldier in the Regular Army.
Standard entry soldiers are people who have joined the Army and are able to start their initial (Phase 1) training straight away.
Most people between the ages of 18 and 36 join this way. Regular soldiers are full-time soldiers, who usually live and work on military bases. As a soldier, you learn military skills but will also have a trade, which can be used in day-to-day life.
To get involved or for more information, you can contact Major Robert Humphries on 01748542088 or at Robert.Humphries482@mod.gov.uk