The Discovery Programme is a week-long therapeutic camping program for lads ages 11 to 14 years who want to take a fresh look at life and might need a chance to break a negative cycle. They could be facing challenges in relating to others at school or at home or perhaps just need a break from technology. The number of days spent in the programme can be adjusted to meet the needs of the lads who are signed up for a particular week. Also the lads are encouraged to return as many times as needed for continued support and the parents/guardians are encouraged to keep contact as well. The Discovery Programme can provide a way to enjoy life outside the box and a chance to find some headspace.
Most of the activities take place in a campsite, a place designed and built by staff and young people working together.
The heart of therapeutic camping needs a simple, undistracted environment, and a campsite in a forest setting provides this excellently. The group campsite resembles a village of log frame huts, with sleeping, cooking, and dining tents connected by footpaths. Each tent has a woodstove and plastic windows to keep campers warm and dry, as the aim is not “roughing it” but rather simplicity and focus.
Daily routines such as getting up at a set time, keeping the campsite/tent clean, and regular mealtimes are an integral part of a healthy life routine. Learning the right place for order and routine, results huge positive benefits for our mental health.
From the time they arrive, campers are partners with nature. The forest provides the material for constructing shelters, and wood for heating our spaces and cooking meals. Our activities aim to be in harmony with nature, rather than in opposition to it. Our trails are built of natural materials, and the outdoor environment is our playground and classroom. In nature we see the Creator as a generous teacher and provider.
Planning ahead is an essential life skill and an aid to learning and development. At camp, the day’s plans are written up with input from the young people. A balance between work and play helps to set clear expectations, and with a bit of luck, the activities go smoothly.
Throughout the day, it is important to pause occasionally and evaluate how the interactions/activities are working and to make ongoing adjustments. At the end of the day, there is a time for Folkmoot, a short evaluation time around a small campfire before bedtime. This provides a space for everyone to reflect together on the day’s experiences, charting any progress and marking any personal development. Each member has an opportunity for to speak freely and honestly about any situation, helping to get the most from the day’s experiences. Folkmoot can also prepare a lad for going to bed at peace, ready to face the following day with confidence.
We also regularly plan overnight canoeing or hillwalking trips. This can be an excellent teambuilding experience as well as a great adventure. An amazing freedom can be experienced by a trip away, and a group finds that learning new skills in remote areas connects them in a unique way, encouraging a positive group spirit.
The enrolment process for the Discovery Programme
You can contact us by email, web form, or phone because we value personal connection, we usually follow up with a phone call. Then there are several steps to the formal enrolment process.
We post you an application form, and the parent/guardian completes the form and returns it. This is not a commitment from either party, although it places you in the waiting list for a place in the camp. When we receive the application, we will be in contact to discuss your situation and advise of an approximate time of the next opening.
Our family support worker visits your family, explaining the camp programme in detail and learning about the challenges you are facing. If you still feel camp is a good option and the child fits our enrolment criteria, we proceed to the next step.
Pre-Placement Visit to Camp
A short time before a session, each young person and family visits the camp and makes a decision whether camp is the best option for meeting the family’s needs. The camp tour usually takes about an hour. After the young person and family meets the staff and takes the tour, we will sit down for a meeting about the goals the young person wants to set. We also look at other paper work such as a list of personal items the young person needs to bring when he comes, our complaint procedure and care plan.
We set up a date and time for the young person to come for the session.
The Explorer Programme is a one-day programme designed for groups or individuals who want to spend time outdoors, learning about their world and going on adventures together.
The Summer Forest Camp is a week of activities from Monday through Friday for children ages 6 to 13 years. The day starts at 10:00 and finishes at 15:00. The children are grouped according to age and will do activities based on their abilities. These activities include Nature Exploration, Team Games, Bush Crafts, Hillwalking, and Canoeing. This is a great way for children to spend some of their summer holidays. Space is available for 40 children each week. Book early to reserve a spot.