Cumbernauld Living Landscape was represented at Riggfest last week, a youth outdoor learning festival at Palacerigg.
We had a great time with the young people, playing a variety of simple team building games and building woodland shelters. The kids were full of energy and enthusiasm – and the sun was shining which always helps!
I was impressed with how well everyone worked to integrate people with differing levels of abilities into their tasks and teams. We always emphasise the importance of teamwork and no-one being left behind, and it’s great to see how easily children embrace this idea.
One big issue I see again and again however is the lack of confidence many of the children have. Both in their abilities to spend time in the outdoors and in themselves generally. Children are increasingly unfamiliar with the outdoors, they’ve forgotten how to spend time in a natural environment. They kept telling me “this is too hard” but every time a group told me “we can’t do this”, with a bit of encouragement they then went on and did it.
This lack of confidence is not the kids’ fault, it’s ours as a society. We have to get our children more engaged in the outdoors, we have to get them spending more time in nature. Good quality engagement with nature does amazing things for people, it builds confidence and resilience, boosts feelings of wellbeing, gives opportunities to create, learn and expand everyone’s minds and capabilities – and, more importantly, it’s fun!
Cumbernauld Living Landscape works with schools to encourage young people to learn and play outdoors, families with children over 8 are welcome on our monthly volunteer days, and Wild Ways Well has parent and child groups running weekly. To find out more get in touch with us via our website at www.cumbernauldlivinglandscape.org.uk
Paul Barclay, Community Networks Officer