Consider all the core skills that go to making a balanced socially comfortable person who can thrive in his or her community with confidence.
- The ability to get on with others
- The ability to challenge oneself
- The ability to cope with being out of one’s comfort zone
Root camp offers this to young people by placing them in a rural environment and camping so they learn to observe and understand the countryside and get a feel where their food comes from, learning rural skills from fishing to foraging and then the basic skills of cooking. But for me the most important element is the element of how to sit at a table, share a meal and converse with each other.
These are core skills that 14 to 21 year olds will learn if they come on a Root Camp.
Root Camp is the brain child of diminutive Cassia Kidron whose experience of her own children growing up made her aware that so much of these experiences were missing for a whole raft of young people. I was fortunate enough to be asked to run the “cook school” side of things for the first Scottish camp held on the island of Bute, a beautiful small island off the west coast of Scotland, The young people camped next to Mount Stuart house the family seat of the Marquis of Bute ( the current marquis owns about 97 % of the island! ) and it was a wonderful place to be. We had fresh vegetables from the kitchen garden where the young spent a morning learning about growing, cultivation and weeding! And then we used the produce to peel and chop and create salads and soup, not to mention different vegetable dishes. One 16 year old said that he had never eaten so many vegetables in his life! And loved them, there was game day when although they didn’t shoot them, they plucked partridges and then we dealt with birds in the kitchen cooking them and making a stock from the carcasses, for soup the next day. There followed a fishing day and foraged herbs and mushrooms, some home made smoked sausages completed my larder.
We even got to swim in the Mount Stuart pool the first indoor heated pool in Europe!.
The participants went from being quiet and unresponsive to an ( almost!) well oiled cooking team, producing salads, soups, rice dishes, puddings and a broth made from partridge legs. Evenings spent around a camp fire singing to someone’s guitar. They now have the confidence to forage and to ask questions and cook for themselves, they are prepared for life.
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