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Bodmin Way Youth Club at Bodmin Keep

Wow! What a wonderful afternoon we had at the Keep. Three youthful retired military veterans put us through our paces in problem solving team activities. Thinking was the name of the game. When we face a problem in life we are to: take a moment, stand back, see the bigger picture, remember the desired outcome, think things through, look at the situation from a different angle, imagine certain elements weren’t there and then do something differently.

The importance of listening came to the forefront. Often, when faced with a problem, people don’t listen and try to solve it before knowing all the facts. This leads to tunnel vision and makes the problem worse not better! To effectively listen it’s best to look at the person who is talking and focus on what they are saying.

The young people worked out how to do things that seemed impossible to them. This was achieved through teamwork. Effective teamwork requires communication. There are several forms, such as verbal (talking), non-verbal (signs and signals) and body language (information gained by looking at peoples’ face and stance). These are life skills for everyone. One of the veterans, in role, tried to lead the team the wrong way, to show that sometimes, loud and strong voices aren’t to be followed.

A question raised by one of the youth club was: “Why join the military?”

All three veterans had a military background and wanted to take on a challenge for themselves.

Another question was: “Have you met The Queen?”

One had seen The Queen from a distance and others had met Prince Philip when receiving a medal and another had met Princess Di. In order to meet The Queen lots of training and preparation are required including polishing your kit and looking immaculate.

A third question was: “Do you have to be really fit to be in the army?”

You have to take a medical and need a basic level of fitness, but you are not expected to be a superhero! The next level of training depends on the role you play in the service.

When entering a role in public services, such as the army, it’s important to think carefully about the job selected. Work that give you transferable skills are best as people can be discharged from military service on medical grounds e.g. if they are wounded in a conflict, or after leaving the service at about the age of 55. Age restrictions dictate when you can join the military and when you retire from it.

When selecting your future career, it’s important to consider your personal likes and dislikes. Do you enjoy being outdoors, in all weathers and doing practical work or is being indoors, in an office environment your preference?

It was clear the young people thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon with Active Plus and have gained vital life skills as well as broadening their mind. Wise words from the young people themselves when problem solving:

“Let’s think this through.”

“ I’ve got a bad feeling that we are over-complicating things.”

“Let me take that to help you.”

“We can do this.”

At the youth club later in the day, when thinking about the best location for playing team games in the park, the young people remembered ideas gained from the Active Plus session, to ensure we did not breaking a window or lose a ball in the duck pond.

Thanks to veterans Pete, Pete and Chris of and Jo for arranging the free event and providing refreshments. Contact Bodmin Way Youth Club at

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