European Wilderness Mentors on Summer Friluftsliv Tour in Sweden

In August course instructors as well as future European Wilderness Mentors went on a Friluftsliv summer experience to Sweden. As in the years before we were hosted for three weeks by Sjöviks Folkhögskola in Folkärna. The mobility was funded by Erasmus+ programme. Swedish Friluftsliv mentors in training were taking us up north for a canoe trip on Dalälven river, a crafts week at the cabin camp Nysätersvallen as well as a 5 day hike in Vedungsfjället Nature Reserve. This hands on learning experience provided us with numerous skills for a simple and comfortable life outside. Paddling techniques, manoeuvering, capsize training, splitting wood, making fire, carving, fishing, food planning, navigating, building camp, open fire cooking are only some examples. Some of the participants changed visibly during the stay in close contact with their group and the elements. That trip has given us lots of impulses for our work at childcare and youthwork settings in our region as well as for a Coyote Camp in November (see blog entry before). AP

Coyote camp for youngsters

Early November European Wilderness Mentors of BSH der Hoffbauer gGmbH organised a wilderness camp for their own children or younger siblings. A mixed age group of kids (4-12 years) spent a day and a night outside in the area of Seddiner See south of Potsdam. The camp was set up on a meadow embedded in forests. After a check in to tune in to the place the children could choose from different activities where they could acquire creative skills (making dreamcatchers or braiding bracelets) as well as basic wilderness skills (orienteering, fire making, wood chopping, knots, building bow and arrow). The kids were really into it and the mentors could observe child passion and flow moments. After cooking over the open fire it was time for a treasure hunt. The youngest kid proudly carried the map and the older ones were using compasses to find the way. A shaman and a hedge witch were giving clues by telling a story about the treasure of Pico di Bello a long gone robber who broke with his family and turned into a naturalist. When the box was found at last by the youngsters it provided useful things for the naturalist: a selection of mini field guides, dried mosses, an ancient quill for writing which was tried out later and Pico´s wisdom messages written on autumn leaves. When dusk came in it was time for a night hike. The pack followed a wolf track and walked in silence to be able to see animals. Thermal imaging helped to spot deer in the distance. Not only the children meant to see a wolf sitting nearby the scene watching the deer. AP