Chris Leakey Freelance Outdoor Instructor & Social Care Worker
Summit of El Misti, Peru; The Fells, Lake District; Hard Knotts Pass, Lake District
The outdoors has been a part of my life since I can remember. As a child my free time was spent climbing trees, building dens, and being dangled off bridges by my Dad. The Scouts introduced me to kayaking and sailing and 4 years in the Army Cadets equipped me with great leadership and teaching skills.
When I was 13 I enrolled onto a BCU 3 star kayak course. Unfortunately the centre had booked me onto a multi-activity week where most of the people had never been in a boat! Apologetic, the centre let me come to the adult evening sessions and help out for the rest of the summer holidays. I helped out every summer until I was 17 and old enough to do my Level 2 Kayak, this was the start of my career as an instructor.
Three years later having completed my A-levels and spent 5 months in Peru as part of my gap year, I started my degree in Outdoor Studies at St Martins College Ambleside. Here I started climbing, learnt more about the outdoors, continued with my professional development and was introduced to the idea of using the outdoors as a medium for development.
After my degree I set off to sail in the South Pacific then spent 13 months working, travelling, climbing and skiing in New Zealand.
I returned to England in 2005 and spent the winter near London before moving to Wales to work a season at a multi-activity centre. Here I worked with many different types of groups and gained a wealth of experiences. At the end of the season I was keen to return to the Lake District and wanted to do more work with young people that displayed emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD).
I started working for a care home that provided outdoor experiences for the young people in their care. Unfortunately after only a few months, the company came into financial difficulty. I accepted my relocation offer of care work in the Midlands at a residential home that used outdoor activities as a medium for development.
I gained valuable residential care experience here, working with young people with emotional and behaviour difficulties (EBD) and Learning Difficulties. I completed my CWDC inductions standards and started worked towards my NVQ3. After a good one and a half years I was missing the outdoors and was eager to combine my care and outdoor skills.
So in May 2008 I set up as a Freelance Outdoor Instructor and Care Worker, based in the Lake District. Since then I have worked with a number of care and outdoor companies.
When working with young people in care I strive to provide multi day outdoor experiences for young people. During this time I hope to challenge their preconceptions, teach them new skills and increase their positive self-confidence and motivation. When working as an instructor or coach I hope to meet my clients and employers goals whilst providing professional, safe and enjoyable experiences.
My personal experiences in the outdoors and at University have lead me to develop a great respect and deep love for the natural environment. Over time I have become aware of exactly what it is that I love. To me, every trip is an adventure, created by myself, other people and nature. These trips become great stories, with lasting memories and the experiences have and will continue to help me evolve as a person.
My desire is to provide all willing people with similar experiences to the ones I've had, and share my knowledge and beliefs in the hope that we may learn and grow together.