Woodland based Awards on International Day of Forests!

International Day of Forests!
Woodland awards and qualifications for your pupils

On International Day of Forests we wanted to share details of our woodland-based and outdoor awards, enabling your students to gain valuable qualifications!

 

 

 

The John Muir Award – suitable for years 5, 6 and above

Find out more about the John Muir Award and how this can benefit your pupils!
The John Muir Award
is a National Conservation Award and can be achieved at Discovery Level either as series of day visits or 4 consecutive days.

 

The award is suitable for pupils from upper Key stage 2 onwards, and gives students the opportunity to connect with, enjoy and care for a wild place through 4 challenges: Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share.

Residential Woodland Camp Case Study: Tiffins Boys School, London

Bespoke camps for schools

We start the process with a Woodland Day in May to learn the skills students will need for camp (Discover); fire lighting, shelter building and cooking. During the woodland day, we also provide an opportunity for students to join in the planning of camp activities – within reason!

 

The camp then takes place in June for 2 nights and 3 days (Explore) and includes tool use, team building games, night stalks, cooking, a conservation activity (Conserve) and plenty of adventure!

Students then go back to school and Share what they have learnt. They come away from the experience with more confidence, closer as a team, with a better understanding of the natural environment and having achieved the John Muir Award at Discovery level.

“I didn’t think that I liked camping but I have underestimated myself. The camp was amazing, I have not only learnt new skills but I have learnt to be grateful about everything around me. I have a new sense of confidence and believe in myself.”
Camp Participant, June 2017.

Other Woodland Qualifications

Each of the qualifications below requires a minimum commitment of 4 days in an outdoor environment, ideally a woodland, but they can also take in your school grounds, a local park or a woodland across the school year.

OCN Basic Woodland Skills and Knowledge – Suitable for working at Entry Level

3 key principles:

  • Know how to work safely in the outdoors
  • Be able to use tools to make items
  • Be able to recognise woodland life
OCN Woodland Skills and Nature – Suitable for those working at Level 1

5 key principles:

  • Understand health and safety responsibilities when using woodland survival skills
  • Be able to recognise woodland life
  • Know the principles of fire lighting
  • Be able to light a fire
  • Be able to use skills for practical woodland tasks
Case Study: Moulsecoomb Community Forest Garden Project

“The majority of the students we work with have Special Educational Needs (SEN) experiencing difficulties within main stream education for many reasons. A great deal of our in nature work initially is therapeutic.

The OCN Level 1 Woodland Skills qualification gives us the opportunity to give an award that is non invasive in its evidence gathering and doesn’t compromise the therapeutic process.

Its simplicity gives us the space to be able to encourage students to develop skills, underpinning knowledge and natural awareness, creating enthusiasm and interest.

The opportunity to earn and receive a certificate as a record of achievement really does motivate students, becoming an important part of their self development and eventually CVs.

We began awarding the OCN certificates through Circle of Life Rediscovery back in 2011, as a community project many of the students who have received the award and since left school come back to see us, they always mention the OCN level 1 they received.

I would say the Level 1 award represents not just a record of achievement, but also marks a passage in time, a process these young people very much enjoyed.”

Patrick Beach, Outdoor Education Instructor / Therapeutic Practitioner
Moulsecoomb Community Forest Garden Project

Our Woodland Site

Forest School at our Woodland Site

 

Circle of Life Rediscovery welcomes all our groups to a stunning 10 acre of beautiful mixed broad-leafed woodland known as Mill Woods. It is near Laughton Village, located 10 miles from Lewes in East Sussex.

 

We offer a range of opportunities for schoolsorganisations, professional health and social services to access this natural environment though programmes, day events and trainings. Read more about it here.

Circle of Life RediscoveryOur programmes include Forest School Sessions, Enrichment Days and Activity Days for schools across East Sussex. For adults we offer CPD’s, Forest School Training, Forest School First Aid Training and bespoke in-house training for organisations.

 

If you would like to find out more, please visit our website or call 01273 814226.

#InternationalDayofForests!

The John Muir Award: A Case Study

What is the John Muir Award?

The John Muir Award is a national environmental award that encourages people of all
backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places through a structured yet
adaptable scheme. The Award isn’t competitive but should challenge each participant. It
encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun,
adventure and exploration. The Award is open to all, and is the educational initiative of the John Muir Trust. To find out more, please click here.

What does the Award involve?

The John Muir Award has 4 challenges for students, which are designed to promote a holistic approach to learning, and reflect John Muir’s own wilderness experience.
The Challenges are:

  • Discover a wild place – this could be your school grounds, woodlands, the mountains
  • Explore it – increase your understanding
  • Conserve – take personal responsibility
  • Share your experiences

What are the benefits to schools?

There are several ways you could use the John Muir Award to benefit your pupils, and
encourage learning:

Learn about the John Muir Award and benefits to schools

  • Encourage an experiential approach to teaching curriculum subjects
  • Help close gaps in attainment and opportunity, improve behaviour and attendance and increase engagement with learning
  • Promote physical and emotional wellbeing
  • Utilise school grounds, local or more distant wild places, and make connections between them

To find out more about John Muir Award and the curriculum, read the accompanying
brochure here.

Circle of Life Rediscovery and the John Muir Award

Contact us to find out how to become involved.

CLR have been offering the John Muir Award at Discovery and Explorer Level since 2006 – the first organisation in Sussex to offer this prestigious national environmental award.

 

Since then hundreds of young people have achieved the Award which at its heart recognises young people’s connection with, enjoyment of and care for wild places.

Case Study

Why are residentials so important for young people?Tiffins Boys School,  London – We begin the Award with a Woodland Day in May to start the journey, and to teach students the skills they will need for camp (Discover). They will learn fire lighting, shelter building, cooking…some of which they have never tried before. The woodland day is also an opportunity for students to join in with planning the camp activities – what else would they like to learn?

Camp takes place in June for 2 night and 3 days (Explore) and includes activities such as tool use, team building games, night stalks, cooking and plenty of adventure.
Students also take part in a conservation activity (Conserve) during camp, which could
include tree planting or clearing an area within the woodland to open up the canopy to new growth, therefore increasing the overall biodiversity of the woodland.

Tiffins School and the John Muir AwardAt the end of camp students go back to school and (Share) their experiences and learning with the rest of the school. They come away from their John Muir Award experience with more confidence, closer as a team, with a better understanding of the natural environment and having achieved a nationally-recognised award at Discovery level.


"My son is completely different since camp, he has more thinking space inside his head, he is calmer, he has changed." Parent, March 2017.
“I didn’t think that I liked camping but I have underestimated myself. The camp was amazing, I have not only learnt new skills but I have learnt to be grateful about everything around me. I have a new sense of confidence and believe in myself.”

Camp Participant, June 2017.

More information

Please contact us if you are interested in exploring the John Muir Award with Circle of Life Rediscovery. Each Award is bespoke and unique to your requirements.

Please note – we can also offer the John Muir Award as a series of day visits either on your school site, or our woodland site, or a mixture of both. The programme can be designed around your curriculum needs so do contact us to discuss this as an option, find out more.

By Katie Scanlan

We look forward to hearing from you.

Circle of Life RediscoveryCircle of Life Rediscovery also run Forest School sessions, Forest School training, woodland days, enrichment activity days, outdoor learning days, CPD for teachers and family activity days in our beautiful Sussex woodland. Please visit our website for more details or call 01273 814226.

Why overnight camps and residentials are so important!

The Importance of Residential Camps.

More and more research is coming to light to support what we in the environmental world have always asserted – being outdoors is good for you and so are residential camps!

This means not only are children able to be more active by being outside, they are also able to learn more freely, engage more readily and be inspired, encouraged, challenged and therefore improve their confidence and self-esteem.

These positive effects are amplified even more when it comes to a residential camp.

Why are residential camps so important?


“I slept alone in a shelter that I had made, I never thought I would be able to do that. I feel more confident and have overcome my fears.”
Camp Participant, June 2017

 

Learning Away

Learning Away is an initiative, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to research the benefits of residential experiences in schools. In 2015 they published a report, following 3 years of action research with over 60 schools and colleges, identifying the overall impacts of residentials for young people.

The evidence collected throughout the 3-year project showed that residentials:

  • Foster deeper relationships
  • Improve students’ resilience, self-confidence and wellbeing
  • Boost cohesion and a sense of belonging
  • Improve students’ engagement with learning
  • Improve students’ knowledge, skills and understanding
  • Support students’ achievement
  • Smooth students’ transition experiences
  • Provide opportunities for student leadership, co-design and facilitation

“Learning Away has shown that a residential learning experience provides opportunities and benefits/impacts that cannot be achieved in any other educational context or setting. The impact is greater when residential’s are fully integrated with a school’s curriculum and ethos”   York Consulting (2015)

Read the full report here.

Work on the Wild Side

In addition to the Learning Away research, a new report (May 2017), has been released that demonstrates leading schools (highest Progress 8 scores) place high value on residential experiences.

The ‘Work on the Wild Side’ report produced in partnership with Learning Away Consortium members, CLOtCIOL and AHOEC analyses the UK primary and secondary schools with the highest Progress 8 scores and winners of the Pupil Premium Awards.

The report found that “outdoor learning is valued amongst teachers, pupils, parents and inspectors and that the skills learnt outdoors are transferable to the classroom and across the academic spectrum.” Work on the Wild Side, May 2017

Given the clear benefits of outdoor learning and residential camps, more needs to be done to ensure that children and young people are provided with the opportunity to leave the classroom.

Read report in full here.

Circle of Life Rediscovery Camps

Unique residential camps with Circle of Life Rediscovery

Circle of Life Rediscovery runs unique, nature-based residential camps for young people in a beautiful woodland environment in Sussex.

Camps have a strong environmental basis and could include activities such as fire-making, tool use, cooking and foraging, team-building activities, art, story-telling, music and night walks. We also offer the John Muir Award, a National Conservation Award, at Discovery level.

“I didn’t think that I liked camping but I have underestimated myself. The camp was amazing, I have not only learnt new skills but I have learnt to be grateful about everything around me. I have a new sense of confidence and believe in myself”
Camp Participant, June 2017.

Residential camps in East Sussex

To find out more about our residential camps, watch one of our films from a Secondary School camp or Primary School camp where participants explain what they enjoyed about the camp.

Please contact us on 01273 814226 or send an email for more information if you are interested in organising a camp for your school. Each camp is bespoke and unique to your requirements.

 

There are free resources on the Learning Away website, include planning tools, models for lower cost trips and curriculum integration.

By Katie Scanlan

Circle of Life Rediscovery

 

Fire Quest – Stories from the Fire

Fire Quest – Stories from the Fire

In September 2016 we embarked on a weekend of Sacred Fire & Fire Quest with both adults and young people coming together to undergo a Rite of Passage. As a culture we have all but lost our traditional ways to mark transitions and to support us to move to another stage of life and relationship to the natural world.

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In 2017 we look forward to welcoming Salvatore Gencarelle from the Helpers Mentoring Society to share teachings and offer immersions through the ‘Living Fire Course’ – a four part training throughout the year commencing May 2017 (exact dates TBC). This offers an opportunity to adults to undergo a Rite, then support young people to do this in Part 3. For more information about this click here.

 

DANIEL FORD, from the University of Hull joined us in September to record his impressions and to begin to share the experience to others beyond the forest.

“We are forest people, and our stories and social networks are forest born”.
(Sara Maitland, Gossip from the Forest, 2012, p. 9)

“I prefer being in the forest than in school and I believe the more important lessons can be found there”.
(Teenage Fire Quest Participant 2016)

Stories from the Fire

It is dawn. Raven calls ring out through the wood, stark over the distant sound of traffic. The calls are not being made by birds but rather by a small group of people who, having tended a community fire throughout the night, are now making the agreed signal of return for those out beyond the encampment. Before long men, women and children emerge from the trees and gather together in a large circle. Some take seats, whilst others move closer to the fire. The man who has held vigil at the fire throughout the night, the acknowledged teacher and leader, sits on the far side of the circle silently welcoming those who are returning. When quiet descends on the gathering he asks for those present to sing the song or tell the story that has made it itself known throughout the night. Individuals are called upon to tell their stories, to share their visions and sing their songs from the solitary quests that began at dusk and that have now ended with first light. Those that have worked with these Fire Quest participants as guides gently encourage the members of their groups to share their experiences of being out in the wood, alone with their own fire.

InipiThe first group speak a little about their unexpected experience of time throughout the night. They talk of how they spent their time in preparation for their quests, how they tackled time passing in the wood through the night, and of how they collectively believed that dawn was breaking only to realise that it was the unexpected brightness of the full moon rising. There are murmurs and nods of affirmation from the others seated in the circle acknowledging shared experiences.

Attention moves to the next group. A teenage boy, standing in the outer circle, speaks out. He makes a statement that he feels sums up his quest, “that you don’t really miss something until it’s gone, but if you look hard enough you can bring it back”. He recounts how he slipped in and out of a pattern of sleep and attentiveness throughout the night accidentally allowing his own fire to die out in the process. Despite almost being overwhelmed by darkness he tells how he was able to re-kindle his fire from just an ember. An adult at the far side of the circle celebrates both his mistakes and his determination by offering a personal insight “that we can give things away, all of us, without tending to ourselves”.

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Returning to the sharing of stories around the circle a teenage girl is called on to speak of her experience. She begins by recounting the personal question that she took into the forest with her. “How can the dark be a friend, how can it be kin, and how can I not be afraid”. She speaks matter-of-factly about how her time spent in selecting and preparing her space for the night helped to settle her anxiety and make the experience literally grounded and friendly.

As the sharing at the fireside continues a boy is invited to share the song that he ‘received’ whilst he was out in the wood throughout the night. His voice is fragile at first and the group, perhaps through solidarity of experience, begin to sing with him. The song is a simple, repeated refrain giving shape to the boy’s experience.

I’ll be climbing in the treetops,
I’ll be hiding in the bracken,
I’ll be running with the wolves,
and I will find you.

He tells the assembled group that the focus of his thinking through the night was a question about how he could learn the land and that the song was his answer. The guide of the group explains that there were also many questions from the young participants “around school and college with the question – what shall I do?” being a common theme.

A teenage girl, seated cross-legged by the community fire, continues with this thread on behalf of the next group. She speaks of how her fire bundle flared as she left the community fire at dusk on her way back alone to her chosen site and how it burnt out completely. She recounts how she retraced her steps along the path and found an ember. In the darkness she carried the ember back through the wood to her fire site and was able to bring the fire back to life. The girl continues to speak of insight gained through the process of tending fire and tending herself throughout the night. She says that she feels now “that growing in knowing is not an intellectual activity, that it is active and located in action”. To clarify her point she talks about working with her personal questions. She says that she recognised that she “had the need, the knowledge, the awareness that she had questions that needed answering but not sure about what they are or were… this led to the realisation that it is action itself that leads to knowing, and that this in turn leads to questions arising”. The teacher smiles on the opposite side of the circle.

The teacher continues by addressing the group as a community in relation to the girls sharing. He speaks of a teacher from his own wisdom tradition. “Black Elk, was an Indian elder and he had essential things to say about processing what happens out there, he spoke beautifully about this and although I not want to paraphrase – his message was this: ‘a vision without action is just a dream’”.

As the last group are invited to share their experiences attention turns to a teenage boy who decided not to venture out into the wood and instead remained behind with the teachers and guides, tending the fire throughout the night on behalf of the community, creating a link with all those out in the darkness.

Greenland sunset 4The sharing and harvesting of stories and experiences in the circle reaches its conclusion. The teacher finally turns to a woman who had joined the morning circle late and who was clearly upset and had been crying. The woman had been a key part of the ceremonies of the weekend and held an opening gratitude ceremony where all participants shared a little of their thanks for the coming experience and for life itself. She is asked if she will share her story of the night. Holding back her tears she begins.

It was a glorious night, with the strong light of a full moon and a sweet breeze. It passed slowly. I dozed occasionally, my fire dozing with me but rising back up every time I tended to it. I watched the fires of the young ones around me, rising and falling similarly to mine. I tracked the length of the night with the moon as it passed over us and with the change in traffic noise. We were near a main road and as the night wore on, the sound of traffic dropped until we were finally in total silence. In the depth of the night I heard a tawny owl call out a few times and the sound of a fox barking. The moonlight was so bright that I found myself listening out for a chorus of birdsong to confirm the approach of morning. We had been given strict instructions that our fires needed to be fully extinguished before we left them and tending the fire down to cold was an important element of the whole. I sat there, spreading the coals around with a stick and watching the embers sparkling up at me. I heard a crow call. I heard a great tit. And then I heard the traffic start up again, and the sound of traffic increasing. There was no further birdsong… The commuters were already on their way towards London and I knew that morning was upon us. And that’s when I began to drop into a well of grief. I sat there. Where were the rest of the birds? What were we facing as humanity? Going to work day in day out, by car, coming home by car, windows and doors closed to the elements, the wildlife leaving us… What have we done to the Earth? Stirring the last of the hot coals, listening to the traffic, pondering and feeling, I could not leave my site – I did not want to return. I just sat there in my well of sorrow.

At my most grief-stricken I heard the sound of movement in the branches above me. A few leaves fluttered down and then acorns started landing around me. As I looked up I saw a squirrel on one of the branches, looking down and scolding me in a way that only squirrels can. I had to laugh at myself. If nature communicates with us through signs and symbols, the different metaphors that emerge from a flying acorn brings us much information. Who knows what will happen in the future after all. Those young ones out there all night, tending to their own fires, igniting their passion and their personal fire – what acorns were being planted in them that night? How the Earth is now is how they know it to be. They have never seen a murmuration of starlings, chased butterflies or tripped over hedgehogs nightly. I realised that my grief was for how it was when I was a child and how it used to be. The weight of age.

Many, many people around us today are committed to doing what they can to change the world. We are planting acorns, both arboreal and metaphoric. With the energy and the optimism of youth – well maybe there is still hope for the future of my grandchildren and the future generations of all living things. I’ll keep praying that is so.

After this final story, the sharing of which leaves those listening in deep reflection, the group is invited to pay its respects to the site itself and encouraged to leave the woodland in better condition than they found it. The preparation to leave is unhurried and leisurely, with participants returning to their individual sites, raking over coals, covering fire pits with disturbed earth, and scattering leaves with the aim of leaving no trace of human activity. Once this had been satisfactorily completed people begin to clear away their belongings, leaving the wood without apparent sentimentality or the need to effuse to one another about the power of what has been shared.

The Fire Quest itself had been led by a man who openly drew on the traditional wisdom of his own culture, and of his own teachers and elders. This cultural aspect of the Fire Quest suggested that “the role of indigenous cultures” was to “ensure that each community member develops into a healthy and happy human being”. Promoted as a “rite of passage, which was historically used as a means to mark and support the transition from childhood into young adulthood” this development would be brought about through “processes to facilitate the transitions between the stages. Individuals were enabled to unfold and blossom into their own personalities and gifts, with responsibility, aliveness and incredible joy”.

Although the processes of this Fire Quest had now been completed, the unfolding and blossoming of the young participants was perhaps only just beginning.

Daniel Ford is a doctoral research student and the recipient of a Freedom to Learn scholarship from the Faculty of Education at the University of Hull. He is currently working on an inquiry into what happens when young people have wild experiences within and alongside their formal education.

Correspondence: d.ford@2015.hull.ac.uk

For details on The Living Fire course with Sal Gencarelle, commencing in May 2017, please see the Circle of Life Rediscovery website.

Swings, Ropes & Woodland Cooking

The use of ropes for making and cooking is endless! During our course back in April with Mark Lloyd, participants learnt to make rope from local plants, discover recipes using wild woodland ingredients, learn team building games and crafts.

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Here, we share some of our wonderful feedback from the course participants.

What did you enjoy about the training day?
It was very interactive and I learnt a lot of new things that I will be able to apply to my role.”
“Friendly and knowledgeable trainer, well planned session with good progression of difficulty, learned lots of new skills, had fun and the weather was great.”
“I enjoyed the practical hands on training which was lots of fun. A great team building day!”
“It was nice to spend time together as a staff/volunteer team. It was very relaxed atmosphere and beautiful weather!”

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What was most useful about the training?
How to build rope swings and ladders and learning the different knots.”
“Learning new skills and practising them in the woods. We all got to a good level of competency with the knots and I felt really pleased that I mastered something new.”
“It has equipped me with new skills and ideas to use with groups I work with. Such simple and low cost ideas that can effectively create lots of safe risk taking for children.”
“Finding out simple ways to make exciting things for kids to climb on. So simple that they’ll be able to do it to.”

How could the training be improved?
“No suggestions”
“It was spot on!”
“It couldn’t”

Would you recommend this training to others? If yes, what would you say?
Yes, it was very hands on, enjoyable and informative.”
“Yes – I would say it was really well delivered, good content and a lot of fun.”
“Yes – well structured and fun. I’m looking forward to putting my new skills to use!”
“Yes – these are the kind of skills that are simple to learn and (once remembered!) will provide fun for children and young people for ever.”

At Circle of Life Rediscovery, we offer a variety of adult training courses, workshops and CPD days throughout the year. For further information about how you can get involved, please visit our website.

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Our next Outdoor Learning courses are as follows:

Autumn Nature Based Plant & Games Day – 23rd September, Ringmer, East Sussex.
This training is for teachers and TA’s of reception through to KS4 as well as Forest School Practitioners and others working with young people of all ages. It will equip practitioners to safely inspire young people to build their own knowledge of plants, to work through the risks, benefits and opportunities of incorporating local plants into your practice to inspire a life-long love of learning! Find out more.

Forest School & Play Therapy – 20th October, Ringmer, East Sussex.
This one-day training is for teachers, TA’s, Forest School Practitioners and others working with young people of all ages. The day will combine Forest School and Play Therapy and introduce you to how to provide a therapeutic space for young people. Find out more.

As the summer holidays come to an end and Autumn creeps upon us, we reflect on the past year and plan the year ahead. If you would like to find out about our School Camps, Forest School, Activity Days and Transformative Learning Training please visit our website. We are currently taking bookings for the year ahead, please do contact us as soon as possible!

Email: info@circleofliferediscovery.com

Tel: 01273 814226

www.circleofliferediscovery.com

Beyond The Walls: My First Camp

Having joined the Circle of Life team on an internship, Marina and I agreed that the best way to truly understand the work that I would be promoting would be to submerse myself in it. With the first camp of summer fast approaching, it was decided that my latest camping experience since Cubs would be located in, hopefully-not ironically named, Battle. Memories of unassailable tents and chillingly awkward wash basins preoccupied my thoughts. Upon meeting the team, all apprehension was somewhat dispersed and instead I was feeling remarkably content – despite still being plighted by my tent pitching skills. A whistle-stop tour of the camp ensued, while also dabbing my hand at some fire-making, before an overview of the timetable; one of the few but precise staff meetings that enabled such a fluid running of the camp. And so, I was left to tend to the fire while the greeting party was sent to the coach, periodically poking the burning branches, I sat as the previous apprehension rose back up, before the voices of twenty young men began billowing through the woods. So it begins.

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After the melee of tent-picking and bag-dropping, we were able to gather round the fire for some introductions, with the members of staff up first my response (mostly made up of assurances that anyone new to this was not alone) was delayed having momentarily forgotten that I was said staff and not a participant. Introductions over and responsibility resumed, the team fanned out into a clearing to get in to some team games. While cliques were evidently in place, you could already begin to see communication and teamwork developing among boys who otherwise wouldn’t, in a classroom environment. It’s here that the first theme of the John Muir award could really be seen: Discover. You can expect a trip like this to evoke the discovery of new surroundings and characteristics you were otherwise unaware but of relationships, and the willingness to develop them, among already familiar acquaintances was a surprise for me. As the afternoon moved to evening, the boys were required to help out with building a sweat lodge, dormice houses and safe fires; split among the newly discovered ‘clans’. The aforementioned teamwork was now being applied to a productive medium, facilitating the safe and efficient use of otherwise dangerous tools. A quintessential motive considering the backdrop. With the days duties over, attention turned to dinner and then some more games but this time incorporating camouflage, requiring an awareness of the surroundings; something that was the theme of my bed-time ponder – that and why it is that all tents seem to smell the same. It is the awareness of the natural world that can beset the most divine appreciation of it, when you appreciate the world around you, you can be nothing but content; even when you have forgotten your pillow.20150606_110949

Feathers and Marina performed the wake up call, Tunkashila is a song of awareness, consideration and gratefulness. This surreal commencement of the second day set the tone for what was surely going to be a tough one for the boys, with just how much activity was planned but the message was to stay aware and stay focused. The continued timetable of physical exercise woven with educational crafting was the order of the day once the morning duties were completed. It’s this balance of leisure and education that allows Circle of Life’s work to be so unique. You can’t just jump up in class and launch a frisbee around when you’re not feeling engaged. By the early evening, we had a finished sweat lodge, eight Dormice houses, hand-made atlatls, foraged, prepared and cooked nettle pakoras and a lesson on safe fire extinguishing for good measure; all by early evening. By the stage of preparing the fire for the sweat lodge, attitudes had become spiky and requests began to be ignored, so a short break and a staff check-in allowed a momentary rest bite enabling the camp to remind ourselves of todays message of gratefulness. Queue the sweat lodge. All pessimism was left outside of the lodge, the boys were left with only their minds to explore, allowing compassion to blunt the edges of the spikes that had feebly threatened to spoil the days energy. Instead, the groups appreciation of the lives they lead was complimented with well-wishing for those not as lucky and, through self-exploration, the group were able to incorporate the days message into their approach for the rest of their time at camp; and hopefully daily life. Again, exploring the natural world can be expected but to explore ones self to such a degree can be a profound lesson.

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After a night spent round the fire as one group, typifying the events that preceded it, Sunday’s duties were resumed and then it was all about enjoying the moments we had left in light of our experiences so far. Once the tents were taken down and the bags packed, the group set about putting up the Dormice houses, excited at the prospect of aiding in conservation, it served as a fitting precursor for the eventual wind down and farewells, each group able to make their contribution, symbolising their time at the camp; before my favourite event of the weekend. The sit spot. Taking a moment out and finding a secluded spot to reflect on all that had happened, all the growth I had witnessed and all the contemplation I myself had endured, I was able to truly quantify the magnitude of natures power. Its ability to transfuse the peacefulness and tranquility into a scope for rationalising thought is a truly wonderful gift, a realisation that I will never forget. As the group rejoined, we headed to the yurt for the final exchanges, each member bringing a gift to give to another, on top of what the camp had already gifted us. Having discovered, explored, conserved and shared, it was time to wish the boys well and say our final goodbyes, ending what was yet another successful camp for the ever-deserving Circle of Life team as the boys were adamant the learnt lessons would be influential in their daily lives.

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With the most important part concluded, it was time to contemplate what I had learnt; that being just what an inspiring gift the natural world can be. It is a strange feeling finding something that had never actually been lost.

Visit our gallery for a closer inspection of the weekend’s events: https://www.circleofliferediscovery.com/index.php?page=tiffins-camp-2015

Or our YouTube channel for some responses to the time we shared: http:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_mdfm9Yp6Y

Bradley, the intern.

 

 

Holiday, Family Activities and Camps

Keep your family entertained this Easter by attending our holiday and family days! We offer bespoke days in the Sussex countryside aimed at getting your children outdoors to learn new skills, make things, meet new people and have fun whilst enjoying the great outdoors. Please note spaces are limited so please get in touch to secure your place! Don’t forget we also offer family camps and summer camps for children during the school holidays – early booking essential.

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*New* – Family Camp 28th-30th May

Enjoy the woods and relax with your family during May half-term. Nature based games and activities for all the family including tracking, crafts and fire lighting. Find out more.

Early booking essential – limited spaces. View our photo gallery to see how much fun you can have in the woods!

Complimentary Download – Whose Tracks?

Looking for ideas to entertain the children during the holidays? Click here to download our FREE seasonal activity sheet. Answers will be posted on our Blog shortly!

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CAMHS Camp participant feedback…

CAMHS Camp May 2013

What have you enjoyed about the camp?

  • “The thing I’ve most enjoyed about the last two days in spending time with your friends and not your family, so you’re going out into the forest and having all this free space and free time and you don’t have to worry about any of the stress at home, or whatever it is going through your mind. You just come to the forest, open, new space, and be with your friends, be with people that you like and can enjoy time with and just have a good time.”
  • “I’ve really enjoyed making fires. Thats what I really like. It’s nice to get together with people that I know and that I don’t know. It’s been a really nice experience. I’ve never camped out in the woods before! So I was quite nervous about when it got dark, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought!”
  • “Fire making, cooking the food, playing the games, going to see the badger sets and just hanging out with others!”

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Opening Speech, Call of the Wild

The introductory speech for the launch of the film Call of the Wild: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmKOyFJCzqs

Written by Emma, a young person who participated in the project.

I’ve been asked to write a speech today about the woodland projects in partnership with CAMHS and Circle of Life Rediscovery.

I want to share with you what these woodland projects mean to me. The over-riding feeling that I get when being in the woods is FREEDOM. I’m sure I’m not the only person that feels this way. It’s getting that chance to be who you really are, may that be random and loud or shy and quiet. The woodland brings out the absolute best in people, that’s what I love the most.

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