It's about survival, how to light a fire using a spark or make a shelter, the basic things of life.
And how to survive life in college, in the modern world, when things are tough for you as a young person. How to stay alive and get beyond surviving... to living.
My work as an intervention teacher is with those who find it hard to cope with school.
I take them, get them to make a cup of tea/choc/coffee, talk with them...and I listen, and don't judge.
I show them how to light a fire using wood and sparks, cook on the fire, cook using camping cookers, make bread, make shelters in the wind and rain. I've sat and carved sticks into mushrooms with them, made soap, picked wild food, taught them how to tie knots, eaten woodland leaves and berries in front of them as they laughed and told me I was mad..
I have gently moved students that were on the edge of exclusion a year ago back
into mainstream college doing mainstream subjects.
This year I have more students and the college, like many, is underfunded, especially for this area, outside of the main curriculum.
The activities I organise are nature-based, sensory and underpinned by soundly researched principles from Scandinavia for the 'forest school' aspect and recent therapeutic and pedagogic research for the interaction component.
The most potent and popular elements are Woods, Fire and Food! Which means cooking.
Even in the harshest of weather, when my most hardcore students let me off standing and supervising in my US army poncho in horizontal rain as they cook super-noodles under their constructed shelter in January and we retire to a hut with electricity, a cooker and even a kettle, we always cook on camping stoves like the Swedish Trangia.
It has come to pass that numbers have risen and I need to raise some money for outdoor cooking equipment, enough for a group of six. I need cookers, utensils and cutlery...£480, let's call it £500.
Thank you for reading, and any help you may be able to offer.