The new members of the Renegades youth club are about to get their first taste of green site camping – less five-star hotel and more five-billion-star accommodation as they get to see the night sky unpolluted by electric light.
After 14 long and weary months of lockdown – a scary eighth of the lives of some of the younger members – the bell tents and event tents are being aired and the campfire stories rehearsed as the first camp of 2021 is about to get underway during the May half term holidays.
“The kids can’t wait. They haven’t been able to leave home or go anywhere for so long and they love the idea of a new environment, unfamiliar sights and sounds and the chance to socialise with new friends,” says Group Leader Gareth Miller.
“We have lots of new members who have never camped before so it will be a great opportunity to build a team spirit in addition to learning basic survival skills. We will also be taking the telescopes so the children will really be able to see stars…and planets…while we are in the middle of nowhere.”
The Renegades have also found they have feet of clay…real clay. For one of the Monday night mixed activity sessions Gareth and fellow Group Leader Damian Dixon took them down to the stream to make clay pots. “The children voted that that was what they wanted to do so we went on a bit of a hike to a spot on the river where we knew we could easily access the clay and where the children could easily make their own pots,” says Gareth.
“It was a hoot. A few of them got into the river with me…some more than others…but they all loved the idea of living like their ancient ancestors and making household equipment.”
In addition to the regular weekly activities, such as archery, drama, cookery and carpentry, the Renegades are also in the process of planning a full year of professionally organised activities, with sailing, climbing and axe throwing top of the children’s very full ‘to do’ lists.
Also, the great news is that the Charity Commission has agreed to raise our upper age limit to 18 as our older members are keen to stay involved, and we are investigating setting up a Junior Renegades for ages 8-10 if there is enough interest. Watch this space!
Membership costs £10 a month. Please contact Gareth Miller on 07801 862550 or Damian Dixon on 07484 130189 if you want any further information.