By Ros Nicholls, Youth Engagement Leader
Last summer, the Outdoor Learning Team hosted another very successful Youth Conservation Residential.
Fifteen young people from across the UK came and spent five days and four nights at The Outstation in Stape. The residential included a busy programme of activities which allowed the young people to experience the special qualities of our National Park. We kicked off the residential with an afternoon of teambuilding activities at Danby Lodge, followed by a moorland walk after dinner. This provided the chance for the young people to start to get to know each other and for some their first chance to explore our unique heather moorland. On the Tuesday, the group spent a very hot day clearing cross drains along the Cleveland Way from Clay Bank to the Wainstones. Many of the young people found this one of the biggest challenges of the week, but they put in a fantastic effort and cleared over 50 cross drains. We finished off the day with sunset rockpooling at Robin Hood’s Bay. The find of the day was a rather impressive lobster by volunteer come rockpool extraordinaire John White!A visit to Bransdale Moor on Wednesday helped the group learn about moorland management. The heather was in full bloom so the moor was looking particularly stunning and the game keepers made the day really enjoyable. Many found learning about moorland management one of the most interesting things that they learnt on the residential. The group rounded off the day with a mindfulness walk around Raindale Woods.
As well as doing some bat detecting, the group learnt about active listening, box breathing and using different senses to explore the woodland by night.On Thursday, the group carried out some drystone walling at Botton Village. Although the day was both physically and mentally challenging, they worked well together to get the task done. For many, this was one of their memorable highlights of the week. They found it a very satisfying task and enjoyed working together and being able to give something back and make a difference. They spent the evening getting very competitive with a games evening. As a final activity, the group enjoyed a reflective walk and stream dipping at Darnholm on the Friday morning before it was time to pack up and head home. Across the course of the residential, the young people gained skills in teamwork, resilience, determination and practical work while also learning about the environment and how to look after it. All participants achieved their John Muir Discovery Award and also used the week for the residential section of their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. During the week, the Outdoor Learning Team were supported by four volunteers and seven staff from other departments. We could not have run the residential without their support so thank you to all staff and volunteers who gave up their time to help make the residential so successful.