Jo Gibbs from the British Exploring Society gives us the lowdown on the Adventurer Induction Weekend as part of the Dangoor Next Generation Programme which Mountain Warehouse is proud to support this year.
On Friday the 14th of June the Project New Horizons 2013 kicked off with an induction weekend in the South Downs. As the coaches arrived from across the UK, there was a feeling of anticipation in the air as 66 young people met one another for the first time. For some, this was their first time away from home and for many the first time they had set foot on a campsite.
It was also the beginning of a journey which will ultimately take 36 Adventurers on expedition to Iceland. A pre- expedition training week in the wilds of Scotland aims to build up their confidence and equip them with essential skills to channel into a dedicated work/learning programme once back in the UK.
After a hearty pasta dinner, the Adventurers gathered to be addressed by their Chief Leader Neil. They were introduced to their team and the volunteers helping run the weekend, including Ant, Natasha, Ellie and Michelle from Mountain Warehouse. The Adventurers were split into four teams – Bull, Griffin, Giant and Dragon- named after the four Guardians of Iceland.
On Saturday morning the campers emerged bleary-eyed after their first night under canvas. After breakfast, our Adventurers soon perked up when they saw the boxes of Mountain Warehouse kit waiting for them. Each participant was issued with their kit; a pair of walking boots, two pair of socks, waterproof over-trousers and a waterproof jacket. Heavy rain overnight meant this new kit was a life-saver! The waterproofs were certainly put to good use, as the groups tackled the muddy assault course, crawling under army nets and the like, with gusto.
The rest of the day’s activities were a mixture of team building games and practical skills workshops. Adventurers learned the basics of interpreting and using an Ordnance Survey Map. Orienteering provided an opportunity for teams to pull together and race for the quickest time before heading back to the campsite to cook the evening meal of chicken curry.
Saturday was rounded off with a bonfire, while the hotly anticipated results of the orienteering and assault course were announced. All the physical exertion of the day meant there were few grumbles when it came to lights out!
Sunday’s main activity gave the kids an idea of what the training in Scotland and the Iceland trip will be like. The teams set off on a group hike to Devil’s Dyke or Wolstonbury Hill. With a threatening sky overhead, many Adventurers chose to put on their new waterproofs and all gave their new boots their first test. Every team member reached their summit aims and was rewarded with stunning views over the English Channel.
After lunch it was time for a final review session and speech from Neil, who gave out prizes to individuals from each team for their impressive effort over the weekend. As everybody filed back onto their respective coaches, the nerves of meeting on Friday had been replaced by a buzz of satisfaction, the chatter of new friends and an eagerness to be part of the next instalment.
The weekend was a great success, made possible by the hard work of the leader team, our volunteers and most importantly the efforts of our new Adventurers.