HAVING experienced life as a suburban teenager in north-west London, I know how little there is in the way of summer holiday entertainment.
Once youve seen every film in your local cinema, and trawled through all the shops in town with your friends, what else is there left to do?
As the rain sets in, video games and television re-runs draw more young people from fresh air to the sofa. We have to ask ourselves: is this really the way summers should be spent?
Many may not have heard of Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre (HOAC), which offers summer holiday courses in sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and land activities.
Rain or shine, HOAC courses get children of all ages off the sofa and into the outdoors to learn a new sport, all without having to stray too far from the outskirts of London; it is easily accessible from Ealing, Wycombe and Pinner.
Whilst many teenagers would be keen to learn to windsurf, many wouldnt necessarily want to be in the same group as their eleven-year old sibling.
This is why HOAC offers the chance for teenagers to train as volunteers on the Young Leaders Course, to help out with the running of the courses, at the same time as their brother or sister is being taught.
They work in conjunction with the centres qualified instructors, many with the hope that one day they will be able to gain an RYA or BCU qualification and run a course themselves.
Each Young Leader gets the opportunity to try out all of the activities on site from rock climbing and raft building to building a catapulting trebuchet before specialising in a chosen sport.
It offers them a chance to make new friends with similar interests, alongside building confidence and leadership skills. It is fantastic for anyone wanting to build up volunteering work experience, as well as being the first step towards a possible future job.
Sadly, HOAC is currently threatened with demolition to make room for HS2, due to plough through the Chilterns from 2016. These precious opportunities for young people could all be lost if Parliament gives its approval in 2014.