My Big Adventure (MBA) is a social enterprise specialised in improving the engagement of young people with learning, developing their interpersonal skills and building their self-confidence by using outdoors activities therapeutically. Established as a Community Interest Company in 2010, yet with roots going back to 1988, it delivers highly personalised interventions to equip young people to believe in themselves and to want to achieve.
MBA goes beyond the traditional use of outdoors activities for ‘character building’ by integrating aspects of Solution-Focused Therapy and Adventure Therapy. It is led by Dr Stephan Natynczuk a Solution-Focused counsellor, accredited by the National Counselling Society, highly qualified in leading licensed adventure activities, who previously taught sciences. It is delivered jointly with Mark, Rory and Heidi – a team of suitably skilled and supervised staff committed to positive outcomes.
This is a highly participatory service with the young person being guided in designing and undertaking challenges in natural environments and engaging in semi-structured solution-focused conversations. Challenge opportunities include walking in the countryside and in mountains, canoeing, off-road cycling, rock climbing, caving, and camping. Preferred activities are negotiated with the young person based on informed choice, physical and emotional capacity, safety, and scope for transferring learning and personal development to everyday situations. Individual packages are provided on a ratio of two adults to one young person.
The service provides for young people aged 10 to 18 years old within a 50-mile radius of Worcester. It operates flexibly throughout the year Monday to Friday. Sessions consist of full days over a period appropriate to the young person’s needs and personal goals. Weekends and longer periods of intervention are available for immersive experiences of being away from home in a small group, learning to take more responsibilities for self, and gaining and giving respect through interactions and achievements with peers.
Referrals are open to commissioners and providers in education, social care, and health, including mental health and well being, conditional to evidence of funding. Referrers are strongly encouraged to work in partnership with the MBA team to ensure a holistic and coordinated approach for the young person.
Referrers are required to make a joint risk assessment and risk management plan with MBA, as appropriate, before a referral can be accepted. The service is not suitable for young people who require personal care or medical supervision or are engaged in risk behaviours towards self or others.
We are insured with the Activity Industries Mutual and licensed by AALS for a wide range of adventure activities. We are Safeguarding trained, DBS checked, and are regularly supervised by Dr Elspeth Schwenk, a BACP Snr. Accredited Counsellor, Supervisor and Fellow, experienced in taking therapy outside.
For us Adventure Therapy is a deliberate use of adventure and wilderness for therapeutic purposes. Activity outdoors has many intrinsic therapeutic qualities and the flow of wellbeing from just being active in the fresh air is well known. Education outdoors can be much more impactful than indoors, especially when things can be seen and experienced in actual context and with enthusiastic facilitators. Working therapeutically outdoors with adventure activities demands many skills sets; counselling skills, leadership, technical skills across many adventure sports, adventure experience, academic learning, and much more. The breadth of knowledge, learning and skills required of an Adventure Therapy Practitioner is impressive and it is rare to find people who can assimilate such a varied skill set to a professional level. Reflective practice is essential and regular independent counselling supervision is mandatory for practitioners at My Big Adventure.
An overview of the way we work can be read in the attached paper.Download Paper
It’s always great to meet parents and carers. When parents and carers understand our work we make best progress. We like to meet at the very beginning of our provision so that everyone understands what we do, how we work and what to expect. We can talk through the paperwork and get to know each other a little. As part of our work we do like to report in person on how the day has gone, what we achieved during the day and what sort of experience was had.
- We can talk through the work we are doing and how parents and carers can join in.
- Parents and carers can come out on some adventure activities
- We like to meet to review progress and not be an anonymous agency.
Each child or young person we work with helps us design their own experience with us that unique to themselves, informed by their own interests and goals. Please email or phone to start a conversation about how our work would be helpful.
We generally aim to make a full cost recovery when it comes to our fee. Much of our work is subsidised by The Adventure Therapy Company to keep fees as low as possible.
The process is very similar for people wanting to join us in any function. We are particularly keen to recruit volunteers who would enjoy an active day out doing some good work too. To help the process along please complete the attached form and then…
- Depending on how that goes there’s a formal interview
- A day out with us and a real client to see how we might work together
- And then, if it’s appropriate, a day’s adventure to see how well you’ll keep up.