Our Activities Workers in North Yorkshire have worked hard to seek opportunities for young people to benefit from time out in the beautiful countryside of the county. One worker tells the story of three groups of young people who all visited a bush craft activity centre. The activities that they undertake are different and fun. Each group carries their own dynamic and make some poignant observations about the significant personal benefits to their health and well-being that can be gained from time spent in nature. This news item shares a report from session 3:

Session 3

Heavy rain dominated the skies when we set out towards the Glade near Staithes. There were a few shouts of ‘are we there yet?’ as we wound our way carefully over the hill and down to reveal the sea. As we walked down to the camp, one customer was particularly low in mood, expressing his grumpiness. We were met by our hosts Kate, Ste and Bozz who made us a hot drink. We sat around a fire pit and were shown how to make a fire with the flint and steel. The customers were puzzled that a fire could be made from a piece of metal and a grey looking piece of steel and thrilled as they lit it straight away when each took their turn.

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Customers were supplied with hard hats by Ste and taken into the wood and shown how to select hazel branches to make a walking staff each. Unfortunately one customer became agitated at having to wear the hard hat. I explained that it was for their safety due to potential falling branches and that they needed to wear it, but he refused and so I escorted him to a safe place where he could take it off. I suggested the customer have a rest in the willow dome or under the forest canvas canopy as he’d been up until the early hours of the morning. He took some time on his own and later returned to the group saying he felt refreshed. He apologised, explaining how he was awful when he was tired. We discussed how being tired can affect our mood and behaviour greatly.

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A saw horse and draw knife demonstration was given by Bozz and then customers stripped the bark from the hazel wood tree trunks into staffs.

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Pizza oven lighting and making next- pepperoni and bell peppers chopped and dough made rolled out and assembled. One of the customers used an umbrella to shelter the pizza from the rain as it was carried from the kitchen area to the oven and took great delight when the pizza oven was so hot the first pizza was ready in 6 minutes. Customers also made flapjack to bake in the oven after the pizzas. Customers said it was the best pizza they’d ever eaten.

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In the afternoon the sleeping customer made his own walking staff. He was very proud of the work he did, embellishing it with a string binding grip. The customers said the day went incredibly quickly and they said they were so happy with their walking staffs it had been the best day they could remember for a while. All said they’d definitely go back given the opportunity and make some furniture like a stool or table. In the activity consultation marks went from a 2 in mood to 10 and even a couple of 12’s out 10 (a true sign of breaking into the impossible in so many ways!).

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