Youths without a sense of purpose or direction in life tend to be more listless & vice-prone. Projects and tasks help give youth a sense of responsibility, contribution, and accomplishment. AOL employs service-learning methodologies to engage youth to ideate and plan projects that benefit the disadvantaged, like orphans, old folks, low-income families or handicapped individuals. This instills social awareness, civic-mindedness, empathy and compassion in them.
Outdoor adventure and experiential learning are especially beneficial for youths who need an outlet to expend their energies. The challenge of facing and overcoming obstacles provides valuable lessons for students to exercise resilience, patience, self-control, conflict resolution and managing negative emotions. Working with peers to accomplish goals and task foster collaborative team-building and relationship management skills. Outdoor education espouses the heuristic virtues of experiential and action-based learning. Lessons and values come alive in the outdoors, and youth are more effectively engaged through the activities and learning processes.
To catalyze the change process of youths, an immersive-type platform is needed in the form of Camps. Camps provide a vehicle to accelerate rapport-building and bonding, as well as create a safe environment for youths to ‘open up’ and surface underlying issues. The camp atmosphere also engenders instant camaraderie and builds a highly charged and motivational environment for learning. AOL camps have always been painstakingly designed to harness the energy and creativity of young people, channeling them toward positive outcomes.
Values are the bedrock of youth development, and values are more caught than taught. That’s why we believe mentoring is the best means of transmitting those values in a life-on-life mentoring relationship. All of our developmental programs feature a mentoring structure, with low mentor-to-student ratio (average 1:4). Mentoring is a long-term investment that requires a duration of time before we see any real change. We have found that sustained behavioural and life-skills changes are best achieved through mentoring.