Dale Oen Academy: A One Year Program for Adolescents in Resilience and Self-Confidence Building

Robin Dale Oen
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Dale Oen Academy: A One Year Program for Adolescents in Resilience and Self-Confidence Building
All photo and text: Grieg Foundation

Who: The Dale Oen Experience Foundation
What: The Dale Oen Academy; A one year program for adolescents
Where: Norway
Project period:  2022-2024

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When World Champion Alexander Dale Oen died in 2012, his brother Robin, and his wife, Vibeke, decided to realize the dream they both had: Create an arena where children and adolescents can experience mastery and discover strengths.

The Dale Oen Academy offers a different school year for adolescents who for various reasons do not manage to follow the traditional school path.  

Equal frameworks do not provide equal possibilities – all children and adolescents are good at something, but not all are experts at school. By providing a different arena, the Dale Oen Foundation aims to build self-confidence through a focus on skills, joy, strengths and the ability to endure and reach personal goals. Since 2012, the Dale Oen Foundation has given over 100.000 children and adolescents the chance to push personal boundaries and discover new strengths. The Dale Oen Foundation offers programs in personal development, science, and alternative training arenas. They have arranged Europe´s largest research conference for children and adolescents #YouExplore three times in Bergen and Tromsø, as well as research and sailing expeditions in the Arctic and Svalbard.

Recent numbers show that 1 in 5 adolescents do not complete secondary education  

They have experienced professional and social challenges long before they quit. For adolescents that does not fit our regular school system, there are very few resources or avenues available during a very vulnerable period for them and their families. This escalated during the pandemic.

3 of 4 that are not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) and lack secondary education, never actively look for employment. The consequences of falling outside society ave severe consequences both on an individual and societal level. Maginalized youth lose belonging to social networks. Many experience that their social status and self-confidence weaken, and that their physical and psychological health are negatively affected.

The Dale Oen Academy´s slogan is:

“We don’t give grades. We build character”.

Character strengths refers to dispositions to act, feel and think in ways that benefit the individual, as well as the society. Recently, character development has shown to be an important goal, both as an end in itself, but also as a means of promoting other positive outcomes. A growing body of empirical research confirms that character strength predicts objectively measured life outcomes.

In The Dale Oen Academy, 90% of the adolescents have finished the program. The reported changed perception of self image is up 87%, feeling of happiness is up 100%, coping expectancy is up 116%, and faith in the future is up an outstanding 165%(!). Of the finishing adolescents, 95% go on to high school, apprenticeship or work. Also, one year after finished program, the numbers show a slight increase in each category measured. This is why the Dale Oen Academy is a life altering program.

“The support from Grieg Foundation gives us in the Dale Oen Experience the much needed stability to be able to work with the development of the Dale Oen Academy project, and we are very much looking forward to the collaboration”

-  Robin Dale Oen

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