Agad Treun (Imbewu Scotland)
Agad Treun means ‘You are Brave’ in Gaelic. We work with vulnerable young people, who may not have had the best start in life with mental health, touch lives and complex needs. We help them develop transferable skills, emotional coping strategies and confidence to keep learning and find ways into employment.
Weeklong trails in the most remote and beautiful parts of Scotland grow participants’ confidence, self care and love of the outdoors and along with their employability and social skills.
Partnered by Scottish Land & Estates, the project connects young people—many who are urban with the wonders of the natural world in rural Scotland. Aside from the many benefits to youth’s social and physical well-being, Agad Treun will improve young peoples mental health and improve their employ ability skills.
The programme is open to young people aged 13-16 from one of our 40 partner schools in cities across Scotland. We run 3-4 groups every year and we can take up to 10 young people on each.
Agad Treun is a week long therapeutic experiential learning programme in rural Scotland for groups of up to 10 young people. The programme features a three-day wilderness trail in Scotland’s wildest countryside. Led by professional wilderness guides and therapists. Participants will:
- Learn camp craft by hiking, camping in tents, and cooking outdoors
- Improve mental health, build problem-solving skills and grow their self-esteem by encountering and meeting challenges posed by the natural world
- Practice conservation and Leave No Trace principles
- Build resilience and coping strategies and learn to adapt.
- Experience the joy of volunteering,
As in all Wilderness Foundation outdoor programmes, our research evidences that Agad Treun participants enhance their well-being simply by being outdoors in the wild world.
Participants are inspired to preserve natural spaces and work on goals and pathways for their future. Or partner estate offer support and engagement with rural staff, sharing and giving insight into a range of employment opportunities.
In the course of the week-long programme, participants earn the John Muir Award and Leave No Trace accreditation. These recognition enhance not only participants’ self-esteem but also their employability.
Following graduation, our project manager continues to engaged Agad Treun participants with volunteering weekends, mentoring when needed and on going therapeutic support when required.
A two-year pilot, funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and the European LEADER Programme, studied the outcomes of six Agad Treun/ Imbewu trails of the 85 participants:
young people made curriculum course choices based on their experience
young people were influenced in their further education choices
young people took took part in rural employment
young people reported an increased connection to nature
“In November 2017 I took part in the Imbewu experience, at first I was very nervous about attending, I hadn’t been on many trips away from my family but the atmosphere felt like home. I loved every minute of it and found all of the activities we did incredibly interesting. It was great having such positive and supportive people around you. I took so much away with me including lots of new skills, also beautiful memories that will stay with me forever. It was only after participating in the Imbewu that I realised I desired a rural career. I am thinking about becoming a park ranger, this was after seeing the job that Vicky (a local ranger) is involved in. I started thinking of how interesting a job it would be.”
Agad Treun Dates 2021
Each programme has 10 places available for young people in Scotland, aged 13-16 years. Locations an dates are still being confirmed.
At 17, Sean was one of our older Imbewu students. Because he has dyslexia, Sean attended Hollybrook Academy in Glasgow, a school for pupils with additional learning needs. Sean always wanted to work in nature but never had the opportunity.
On the recommendation of his teacher, Sean applied for Imbewu and was accepted for the programme at the Douglas Estate, North Lanarkshire, in September 2014.
Sean took enthusiastic part in the three-day wilderness camping expedition, learning about wildlife and land use. During the following three days, he and the other participants worked with estate staff and local volunteers on conservation tasks such as making and erecting bird boxes.
Sean so impressed the Douglas staff that the estate manager offered him a week’s work experience. Following successful completion of a week with the Douglas gamekeeper team, Sean accepted another week’s placement on a different estate in spring 2015. The Douglas & Angus Estates then offered him a two-year modern apprenticeship in gamekeeping. Sean is considering further education at the University of the Highlands in gamekeeping.
“Sean said from Day One that he’d like to be a gamekeeper when he leaves school. I never thought there was anything we could do to facilitate this for a boy from a Glasgow scheme who attends an additional learning needs school. Through the Wilderness Foundation and the kindness of the people at Douglas & Angus Estates, Sean got to experience his dream job.”