Essex Boys & Girls Clubs

Home > Clubs Area > EBGC Events for Clubs > America Challenge

America Challenge

The challenge is a 3 week trip to Tennessee, to experience the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The Great Smoky Mountains and The Appalachian Trail. Through doing this participants complete their John Muir Award, which focuses on: discovering, exploring, conserving and sharing. More information, can be found here

Sam’s Story 2017: Sam’s Story 2017

Watch Amber’s Story 2015

AC2015: Read Lauren’s Story (pdf) >


The challenge is open to people 18+ within the club network who are nominated by their Club Leaders, this means not only will the participant will be representing their club but also Essex Boys and Girls Clubs.

  • Applicants must be aged 18 + by August 2019.
  • Applicants must be, or be prepared to become, physically fit enough to take on the challenge.
  • Applicants must understand that this is a no smoking trip.

AC2014: Watch Katie’s Story

The Selection Process

  1. Potential participants must be nominated by their Club Leader using the Nomination Form.
  2. Nominees will be invited to apply with a short letter explaining what they hope to get out of the trip and why they should be considered for the challenge and to represent their club.
  3. Selected nominees will be invited to a Selection Weekend at either Maes Y Lade (Wales) or High Row (Lake District).
  4. Applicants will be informed whether they have been selected for the trip by within 2 weeks of completing the selection weekend.
  5. Participants will be supported during a series of meetings (physical and/or remote via Skype) to ensure they have a fitness plan and a fundraising plan (support is offered for both parts).
  6. Participants will meet at EBGC HQ in Chelmsford the night before flying to America.
  7. On return, all participants produce or present a report to their club and their county association of their experience.

AC2014: Watch Joey’s Story


Participants are expected to raise the necessary funds through a variety of routes, including work, traditional fundraising activities and applications to potential funders. Fundraising advice and support will be provided.

The trip costs include flights, accommodation, food, activities and staffing. The only thing not included is transport to EBGC HQ in Chelmsford,Essex , personal spending money (ie: for souvenirs or treats) and personal kit (certain items are available to borrow).


The trip is led by two experienced staff from EBGC.

Provisional Trip Itinerary

Our previous visits to the states have followed a similar itinerary to below:

February – Selection Weekend
February – Team Selected / Flights purchased
February to August – Discovery / Training / Fundraising
September – meet at EBGC HQ for a final kit run through and an opportunity to bond
Day 1 – fly Heathrow to Knoxville
Day 2 -3 – The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tennessee Valley All-Staff Conference Day
Day 4 – Day spent with The Boys & Girls Clubs of Tennessee Valley
Day 5 – Food Shopping at Walmart
Days 6-14 – Conservation week
Days 15-22 – Hiking week
Days 23 – Day with Knoxville Boys and Girls Clubs
Day 24 – fly Knoxville to Heathrow
Within 2 weeks of returning – deliver final report to EBGC.