The Renegades Youth Club found themselves in deer straits when they had their first ever attempt at skinning a roe.
“The children were initially very reticent about touching the creature, which had been donated by a local farmer, and stood right back. It took about a minute for their natural curiosity to kick in, and then they all had a go and had great fun in the process,” says Group Leader Gareth Miller.
“They were really good at it and there were only two or three nicks into the flesh by the end. They were so proud of mastering such a traditional country skill, and then they all took some venison home to show their parents. We are always looking for new and different things for the kids to experience but even I never expected this one!”
Now that all the schools are on their long summer break, the Renegades (unlike most youth organisations) is continuing to operate throughout the holidays. Each week the youth club hires a local minibus – though we would love one of our own – and takes the members on a day trip. Most recently, a large group had a whale of a time in the sand dunes at the beach at West Wittering.
“They were in their element,” says Gareth. “They went swimming and snorkelling, had packed lunches and then, for some reason, made an enormous sofa and chair out of the sand…which they all then sat on.
The camaraderie was just fantastic – whatever their ages – as they all worked together. It was just lovely to see.”
Unfortunately, the planned camping trip was wiped out by the weather and will hopefully be reinstated by the end of the summer but getting back to nature is still proving very popular thanks to Bushcraft Officer Becci Coombes.
“This week we made campfire bread. The kids made the dough (right), then whittled willow sticks and wound the bread round the sticks to make spirals which they then cooked on the campfire. Some of the children added cheese, some marshmallows and hilariously some added both!” laughed Becci.
The members also had an evening making Harissa paste from scratch, which was chosen because of its North African origins. “That led to a ridiculously wide ranging conversation with the children that ranged from the Nutmeg Wars of the 16th Century to the most expensive substances on earth, including ambergris and saffron – it was mad!” said Gareth.
Welding and brazing are an exciting addition to the different activities that the Renegades is now able to offer – thanks to the wonderful Wisborough Green resident Dave Pittuck, who has generously donated his time and knowledge to help the children learn a new skill.
The Renegades is a Registered Charity. Membership costs £10 a month. Please contact Gareth Miller on 07801 862550 or Damian Dixon on 07484 130189 if you want any further information.
Membership costs £10 a month. Please contact Gareth Miller on 07801 862550 or Damian Dixon on 07484 130189 if you want any further information.