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    Pupils Learn Bushcraft Skills

    New after-school club gives Second Form pupils the skills to survive and thrive in the great outdoors.

    A new Bushcraft Club has given Second Form pupils the skills to survive and thrive in the great outdoors – and beyond. The after-school sessions, which took place in school grounds during the Spring term, offered youngsters hands-on activities including fire-lighting, hurdle-making, shelter building, cordage and campfire cooking. Thirteen boys and girls signed up for the challenge, which not only provided practical experience but also encouraged the development of essential life skills including team work, communication, leadership and listening.

    Adam, 13, said: “Hurdle making has been fun yet demanding. For example, one of our zales (the main upright supports) had a big notch in it so we had to work together to free up space by pulling a few zales apart, whilst the others slid in the weaving material. It was difficult at times and I felt like giving up, but determination kept me going.”

    Fellow pupil Devan, also 13, enjoyed the co-operation, teamwork and fun involved in putting up a hammock and tarp, while Vinnie, 12, added: “In shelter building I learnt how to communicate with others, listen to their ideas and work together to find a solution to our problem.”

    Mr Tony Lucas, Club Leader and Duke of Edinburgh Award Manager, believes Bushcraft is different for every participant. “Some see it as survival skill acquisition and some as a pastime or hobby. I see it as a way of re-engaging with nature and a non-competitive platform for a child’s individual and group development.

    “It boosts self-esteem, problem solving and analytical skills while enabling youngsters to take responsibility, share their experiences and develop a willingness to try new things. They learn about wildlife and the natural environment as well as gaining a real sense of achievement.”

    The culmination of the course was an overnight camping exercise, which brought together all of the skills covered in the previous 12 weeks. Fun was had by all!