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Toasted Marshmallows and Flying Axes

The last day of our Youth Training Project with Bush Adventures but the start of something bigger…

We’re delighted to have been part of the development of an amazing new resource for young people in the Brecks with Bush Adventures UK: The EDGE Project.

Funded through BFER and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, EDGE has been developed, run, and facilitated by Bush Adventures to support help young, vulnerable and disadvantaged people. The focus is on aiding mental health and wellbeing, increasing confidence, and improving employability. Over six weeks, participants take part in a wide variety of outdoor activities, contemplation sessions, workshops about the environment and local heritage and have the chance to complete First Aid training and the John Muir Award.

The first course began in October 2023 and was a great success. Bush Adventures have now run it five times and BFER team members, Tracy and Jude were lucky enough to visit on the last day with the students of the fifth cohort.

We joined the students in their lunchbreak round the campfire. They had just completed their first aid training and were full of stories from the previous five weeks. As they toasted marshmallows over the fire and squished them between biscuits to create smores, they told us about the course. We heard about the archaeology they had learned about, the walks they enjoyed and the rain they sheltered from. We heard about canoeing down river and the hot chocolates afterwards, the birdboxes they had built from scratch and the way they had learned to build fires. Throughout the course of six weeks they had grown confident in their abilities and overcome challenges they never thought they could, friendships had grown and they were excited to take their new skills and knowledge into daily life.

After lunch, we wandered down the winding path through the woods and came upon three wooden targets. A final treat before it was time to go: axe throwing!

Rory showed us how to hold and throw the axes safely, and how to retrieve them from the target area and then it was our turn. Everyone had a go, even the most nervous students. Even the teachers and the BFER team! At first, our axes bounced off the targets, overshot entirely or flopped down onto the ground but, after a while, we started to improve. The first of our axes landed solidly into the wood and everyone cheered. One by one, we started to aim true and throw well and, by the time it was time to leave, some people were hitting the target every time. All because someone took the time to teach us, gave us the chance to practise and created a supportive environment. And that’s the magic of a course like EDGE – it’s creating a space to teach young people who might otherwise drop out of the system, giving them the chance to practise new skills and a supportive environment where they are going to gain confidence.

The project with BFER might be coming to an end but Bush Adventures have plans to take the EDGE Project further, we can’t wait to see what they do next.

You can find out more about our Youth Training Project here and about Bush Adventures on their Website or on their Facebook Page.

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