Teens from Calderdale share experiences of an intrepid expedition

Project Challenge presentation evening, at The Shay, Halifax. Pictured are the teenagers that have completed a trek to Mont Blanc, Tom Lally, Carlie Butler, Christopher Pinder, Leanne Dewhirst, Daniel Jones, Jade Drinnan, Anthony Larner, Jordan Longbottom and Fabian Crossley
Project Challenge presentation evening, at The Shay, Halifax. Pictured are the teenagers that have completed a trek to Mont Blanc, Tom Lally, Carlie Butler, Christopher Pinder, Leanne Dewhirst, Daniel Jones, Jade Drinnan, Anthony Larner, Jordan Longbottom and Fabian Crossley
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Young explorers whose trek took them through three countries have been sharing the experiences of their epic expedition.

Every year Project Challenge, based at Dean Clough in Halifax, takes a group of disaffected 16 to 19 year olds on a trek through Europe.

This year, there was group of nine who took on the Tour Du Mont Blanc - trekking 108 miles over 11 days.

The group trained for six months to get ready for the expedition, including completing three residentals in the Yorkshire Dales, Wales and Lake District.

The route saw them setting off from Switzerland and going into France and Italy before returning to Switzerland, all while carrying backpacks weighing between 40 and 50 lbs.

Pete Dawber, operations manager at Project Challenge, said he was very proud of what the youngsters had achieved.

“They did great,” he said.

“We did have a lot of tears. It’s a massive task for them.

“It’s not just that the journey is tiring, it’s the impact of being away from home too.

He added the challenge really changes the young people involved.

“There’s a massive change in them from when they first start with Project Challenge,” he said.

“It’s not just a physical change, it’s a mental change as well.”

Now they are home, four of the youngsters have started studying at college, one is working, one has started an apprenticeship and the other three are looking for work.

Mr Dawber said many young people are suffering from a lack of belief in themselves, and that is discouraging them from applyign for work.

He believes Project Challenge helps give them the confidence in themselves that they need.

Project Challenge is one of the charities set to benefit from this year’s Shoebox Appeal.

The shoeboxes will go towards brightening up the lives of young people from low-income families or living independently on benefits.