Last week a group of 12 intrepid 6B pupils set off into deepest Sussex countryside for a wild camping experience with a twist – they were pitching their tents next to a double decker bus!
Whilst the children were celebrating the conclusion of their scholarship exams, the purpose of the trip was much more than just end of year revelries. The main goals were to empower them to give something back to the community; increase their environmental awareness; learn new skills and begin to understand a little more about themselves and others.
In a picturesque field, nestled next to a small piece of woodland near Pulborough, sits a converted eco-bus. The brainchild of world record breaking adventurer, Dave Cornthwaite, the YesBus has a lecture theatre come cinema upstairs and a small kitchen diner downstairs. Dave’s aim is to ‘nudge’ people into ‘saying YES more’ to adventure and the varied possibilities life offers. The YesBus is just one of his projects that help people realise this and it was to be class 6B’s home for the next four days.
Day 1 was all about team building. Having cracked the conundrums in Guildford’s Escape Rooms earlier that day, the children then had to work together to set up their tents. It was difficult to determine whether piecing together obscure clues in the Escape Room or deciphering the tent manufacturer’s building instructions was trickier.
Day 2 saw a very early start, thanks to an overzealous cockerel and a confused owl combining to create a formidable alarm clock! Wearily, the children headed off to Littlehampton beach to carry out a plastic and waste survey for the Marine Conservation Society, as well as collect and identify ‘mermaids’ purses’ for the Shark Trust Organisation. Upon return to the campsite they were greeted by a bush craft guru who taught them skills such as fire lighting, wood whittling and camp-fire bread baking. Dave Cornthwaite finished the day with a talk about his adventures and the importance of embracing opportunities.
Day 3 started early with the cockerel again, but this time he was joined by a very enthusiastic and very loud dawn chorus. This was apt as the activity that day had an ornithological bent. Under the patient and watchful supervision of an expert from West Dean College, the children learnt the age old skill of willow weaving. Each set out to make a willow chicken, although some ended up looking like buzzards and moor hens – obviously by design rather than by accident.
Day 4 seemed to start with all of the local wildlife wanting to give the group a good send off. Cockerels, the dawn chorus, owls and a frog formed a most impressive bucolic orchestra on that final day and it was with heavy hearts that the tents were packed up. However, there was a chance for one final adventure at a climbing wall in Angmering. The members of 6B really did learn a lot about their own capabilities that morning with a particular climb called ‘the leap of faith’.