Guest post from Volunteer
Working with the kids on the camp is a challenge. A lot of the kids are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds and have limited experience with nature as well as the activities surrounding it. This often is shown with a lack of interest in the new things that we offer, this can be due to a variety of reasons but the primary reason we see is a lack of relatability. A lot of kids come with no prior knowledge of wildlife. So it only makes sense that there is little interest, as how can you care for something you know nothing about?
During the camps we see growth in the kids, they develop good social relationships with those surrounding them as well as a positive relationship with nature. In one case we have two siblings who come to a multitude of camps (Mendip Camp, Camp Langaford and New Forest camp), they are encouraged by their mother but they also have the desire to come themselves. The mother is disabled and unable to take them out to nature herself, so with us the kids get to experience new things. The older sibling is passionate about cooking and often takes the lead when we do cooking activities.
During these activities we do find that the cooking skills of the kids are quite poor, some have never used a knife before despite having food tech as a subject in school. We find that as we do more cooking the ability of the kids improves which is a great positive towards their independence. It is also amazing to see that they also enjoy the food they produce, so they feel rewarded for the time they have spent working towards the meal.
As the kids spent more time at the camps they also find different things that they find engaging about nature. Not all kids are interested in the same activities or things, so being able to provide a variety of activities is very important in allowing the kids to find their interests. As some are very engaged with bio blitz and finding different species that exist around them. For others, it’s the visit to the Tors, and the ability to climb and be physically active.
It’s amazing to see a positive attitude and the desire to attend more camps from the kids, as it shows the work Black2Nature does is being utilised.