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That’s a wrap! The Virgin STRIVE Challenge 2016

3 October 2016: posted by BigChange

This year’s STRIVE was a challenge of epic proportions. Joined by 250 STRIVERs along the way, a core team of 25 people hiked 95 kilometers from Zermatt into Northern Italy, cycled over 2,000 kilometers down the coast of, swam 3.3 kilometers across the Straits of Messina, and took on a brutal half marathon up Mount Etna – an active volcano – on the final day.

The philosophy of STRIVE is that growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone, and magic happens when you do it with others.

In the run up to this year’s challenge, nerves were high amongst participants.A lot of people were seriously apprehensive about the challenging cycle routes, the grueling swim, or the 2 days of mountain biking uphill – lots of disclaimers were made by participants that they might not make it to the end.

However, as is the case every year, we were blown away by what everyone achieved. One of our favorite things about STRIVE is seeing so many people surprise themselves with what they are capable of; new cyclists climbing the equivalent of a third of Mt. Everest in one day, or people who have never swum more than the length of a pool taking on a massive 3.3km swim in the Straits of Messina.


But at the end of every day, as STRIVERs crossed the finish line and begin to recount their adventures, there was always a common theme. Whenever a participant was asked how they got on, the answer is always that it was bloody difficult, but that their teammates pulled them through.

Almost every STRIVER alluded to the fact that they couldn’t have done it without the help of the people around them, and how much easier it is to push on when you take on a challenge together.

The STRIVE Challenge  brings to light the power of a growth mindset and strong support in overcoming challenges. Hence the second half of the philosophy; magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone together.

The Virgin STRIVE Challenge might just be one moment in time to bring together like-minded people on an epic adventure to raise money for our work, but it’s philosophy runs deep through Big Change as well.

It is only by taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zone that we can create a better system to support young people to thrive in life, not just in exams. And we wouldn’t be able to take any of the risks that we do without collaboration.

At Big Change, we work to find, fund, and accelerate the best ideas that are shaking up the way we support young people. Once we’ve identified these ideas, we collaborate with our wonderful community of like-minded organisations, investors, entrepreneurs, artists, ex-gang leaders, young people and many more, leveraging these connections to support the sustainable growth of these initiatives.

New Proj Portfolio Image.001

With funds raised by the Virgin STRIVE Challenge 2016, we are able to bring five exciting new projects on board. These range from projects supporting emotional resilience and communication skills, to volunteer and work opportunities for young people and more. The money raised by the challenge will go directly to these projects that we will work closely with over the next year to create sustainable growth and accelerate their social impact. You can read about our new projects here.

While last week marked the end of the physical challenge, this is only just the beginning for Big Change, and we hope you will continue striving with us on this exciting journey.



Find out more about the Virgin STRIVE Challenge.

Find out more about our 2016 project portfolio.