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Last years escape

Wood fires in the rain
8th May 2016
Learning: Freedom vs Force
21st September 2016

As the first families arrived and began to settle in, the first questions, mainly from the adults, began to pop up. What’s the plan? What are we going to do? And the most important one, what time is dinner?

This were closely followed by, what do you mean there is no plan? Shouldn’t we make one? Shall we say dinner is at 6pm?

These were after all to be expected. We had all just arrived from our normal everyday lives, where it is near impossible not to have a routine. Although people were a bit doubtful at first, after a couple of cups of tea in the sunshine and after the first pizzas appeared, people started to realise that having a bit more freedom wasn’t so bad after all.

WR_Last-years-escape_bridgeThis relaxation was perhaps more clearly seen throughout the weekend on the need to change and keep a toddler’s clothes clean. By the last day, sliding down the muddy hill on your bottom wasn’t immediately put a stop to, bringing much joy to my heart, but also much joy to the child.

As soon as I saw the pioneering poles and the big box of rope, naturally only one thing came to mind: rope bridge. And not just any rope bridge, a multi-stage rope bridge.

Joe was thrilled by it. After a cautious “are we allowed on it?” there was no keeping him off it. He was determined to get the whole way across without falling off and wasn’t prepared to stop for anything less.

Finally, the following morning after it had rained causing the rope to tighten, he made it. The look of triumph and glee on his face put huge smiles on everybody’s faces.

Anna, the arty one, went and picked some berries at one point and sat down with some paper to paint. It didn’t take long before she had an audience, and even less time after that until her painting twig was taken for use by a new pair of hands. Hands and feet were also soon discovered to be much more useful painting tools.

Of course, a weekend of camping is not complete without a bonfire, banana split and some singing.

WR_Last-years-escape_paintAfter exhausting the supply of known campfire songs, we moved onto a new campfire venture for me: tongue twisters. These proved to be even better entertainment, although by the time we got to “She stood on the balcony inexplicably mimicking him hiccuping, and amicably welcoming him home”, I was well out of my depth.

Leaving time came around all too quickly, and for some the thought of it was torture. There were still so many things left to do and discover. Knots were new on the scene that afternoon and proved to be a great distraction to the nagging parents insisting that it was time to go.

The simple wish of wanting to tie a knot around an out of reach hook in the ceiling, opened up so many different questions and ideas I was amazed. And it didn’t stop there. As soon as we had managed that, there were demands for more knots and more uses. I had to dig deep into scouting days memories to keep up.

There was something revitalising about the whole weekend. It was lovely seeing the change in people as they opened up and got stuck in. And it was a relief to hear how much people had enjoyed it, how much they had learned and the question of when the next one is.

Douglas Ward
Douglas Ward
Douglas Ward is a freelance sound engineer and web developer currently based in Berlin. Having climbed his first mountain at an age of just 6 months, he has a huge passion for anything involving the outdoors and adventure. Doug is keen runner, cyclist, climber and kayaker. He is conscious of how important the wild is, especially in childhood, and interested in the role of free play in development.

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