Impressions from the Bushcraft DNA 2016 Training Course

EU flag-Erasmus+_vect_POS-colorBack in June 2016, our team had the pleasure to host yet another international training course – ‘Bushcraft DNA: Developing non-formal activities in nature.’ The mobility, which gathered 33 participants from 16 different countries was a semi-outdoor activity with workshops taking place in Birmingham and Wyre Forest, West Midlands.

The overall aim of the mobility was to explore the ways in which natural environment can be used as an effective tool for youth workers to engage with the young people they work with.

So as to achieve that, within the 6 working days of the mobility, participants were engaged in a number of practical workshops which helped to:

– equip attendees with background knowledge and theory behind outdoor learning (for example the development of ‘Forest School’ in an informal context both in the UK and Scandinavia),

– explore the practicalities such as health and safety issues involved in running outdoor activities and residential youth camps

– discuss the issues around inclusion when planning and delivering outdoor activities

– develop practical competences related to implementing non-formal outdoor and sports activities in nature (including relevant knowledge, practical skills, delivery skills and confidence)

– facilitate networking and exploring the opportunities presented by the Erasmus+ as a means of promoting healthy lifestyles and well-being.

WORKING METHODS:

The course was built upon the DNA idea that is developing non-formal activities in nature. Hence, the training saw a great number of NFE approaches being used. These included:

– discussions, presentations, one-to-one, pair and group work, team-building, interactive presentations, simulation exercises, creative workshops, reflections, etc. – used particularly when discovering the theoretical backgrounds to the themes covered.

– highly practical outdoor activities such as fire-lighting without matches, building natural shelters, foraging and cooking over a camp fire, making nettle string, etc. – used as examples of bushcraft activities to be carried out with young people back home.

The whole learning process was facilitated jointly by the team of trainers and outdoor education and NFE experts from Consilium Development and Training and our local partners at Step Out .

IMPACT:

As expected, the project helped to exert great positive impact on both partner promoters and participants involved.

The first ones benefited from:

– having their staff members, volunteers, group leaders, representatives, etc. trained in the themes covered by the project
– new connections and partnerships that they representatives established during the course
– resources, methods, ideas brought by the participants back to the sending organisations.

Participants, in turn, benefited to a great extent from:

– the practical workshops implemented (these helped to get to know the field better),
– the intercultural exchange with representatives of 16 different countries
– opportunities for personal and professional development
– new contacts and friendships being added to their personal and professional networks.

Overall, participants left the course equipped with a number of ideas, practical skills and with knowledge in their heads. Particularly precious were the practical workshops delivered which showed the group how to arrange educational activities in nature and how to ensure safe environment to work in.

Bushcraft DNA training course was financially supported by the UK National Agency under the auspices of the European Commission’s ERASMUS+ Programme.

What are the participant’s impressions of the project? Have a read below:

– I learnt a lot about myself, I pushed my limits, gained more confidence, I learned a lot about British culture and from other participants

– I’ve learnt that working as a team is not always easy, but real teamwork is very satisfactory. I understood ho important it is to be active

– I learned that maybe danger is real, but fear is only in our mind. Also, I realised that I can be happy with simple things like sun, friends, etc. I realised that my habits are more similar to people from other countries. And I loved the fact that we were freaking with some things 😉

– It was first time for me to meet people from Eastern Europe so I have learned about their cultures and the present conditions in their countries. I think that all participants have something that I appreciated and I have noticed that everyone in his or her personal way really cares about others and tries every day to help one another.

– Personally I felt more motivated to achieve my own goals, because I met some new opportunities and I know that if you trust the right people, things are much easier and light to deal with

– Group dynamics – I was thinking about the loud people in the group that never listen. Their opinion gets heard and they can put their ideas forward, but can’t listen!

– I learnt a lot about bushcraft and life in the forest.

– I met very interesting people with different backgrounds and very successful life full of experiences.

– I learnt a lot about myself, I like meditation that we did together with my friends. I met really nice and inspiring friends. I learnt a lot about the UK.

– I learnt a lot about youth work in different countries. I learnt a lot of skills and I’m sure I can survive in the forest.  

– In these projects you always learn very interesting things about others and their cultures, what makes you break barriers and stereotypes you can have. For me this is the way I can grow more and become the person I want. Learning by doing and learning from others is this type of context. Great experience!

– I learnt that I feel really comfortable in nature and not in the city. I’m more sure that the place where people come from doesn’t matter, that we are all equal and good people with something to share about our countries and culture.

– It was good to clear my mind. I don’t need signal (network) to have fun.New people like when you are open and talkative, when you show them your skills and talents. You need to be a little bit selfish to work better and feel better.

– There are really interesting, inspiring people. There is much more than I can do, projects where I can participate or even organise.

– I have got mostly some confirmation about myself, other cultures. I’ve learnt above all that it is impossible to have an idea too strong from the outside about another culture.

– I learnt much more than I expected! It’s hard to say everything, but I thought I would learn a lot and I learned 5x more!

– I learnt that if I tries before, I could be a nature person.

– Some difference will never be understood. I learned a lot and got confirmation about the direction I want to head. A HUGE THANKS. I also learnt to be patient with myself.

-I can deal better without technology than I was expecting. I learnt also elements of youth work that I didn’t know existed.

– I learnt about myself that if people take too long without dynamics in their voice, I can’t stay fully concentrated. Therefore, I have to improve myself  in public speaking, because I don’t want this to happen at my workshops. People are inspired if we open ourselves and share stories without trying to hide something – without the mask.

– I learnt more about traditions of other countries, my own interests and motivations. I also learnt what kind of people are good to work with in a team.

If you would like to join similar fully funded ERASMUS+ mobilities in the future:

All project vacancies are advertised through these two channels. Also, if you have any ideas for the future projects and need support in realising these, get in touch with our coordinators on eu.consiliumdt@gmail.com We will be happy to take you through the process.