Minsteracres’ collaboration with Vicky Rowell and the youth team Consett YMCA has grown since they became a feature of the outreach team’s programme.
Outreach co-ordinator Liz Holmes is delighted, “Vicky’s such a fantastically positive person. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she can spark even the most reluctant teenagers.
“From pond dipping, bushcraft and archery to night-lining the range of activities is really impressive. Vicky is so obliging and she has a real can-do mentality.
“It means we can offer young people an experience of the outdoors that the vast majority have never had before. Because of her skill, you know they’ll be safe and contained. I can completely trust that I can hand a group of young people over to her and know they’re going to have a good time.”
Vicky for her part shares the enthusiasm, “Minsteracres is a perfect venue. We made shelters recently and there was so much natural material available from fallen trees and other vegetation. Some of them really went to town. Once person even made a sofa for the shelter.”
Night-lining, where a person is blindfolded and has to follow a rope through the woodland with a person to guide them and others of the group giving advice, was a particular favourite. “They were amazed,” says Vicky. “They felt what it’s like to lose your sight and how hard it would be. They have to trust the person guiding them, and it helps them to understand how messages can be miscommunicated
“It’s great to see young people coming together so well. I was really shocked that they didn’t know each other before.”
Liz was especially taken with Vicky’s ability to get everyone joining in. “At the end of the session, she picked up ‘the stick of speech’ and asked everyone to say what they’d liked and what they’d learned and everyone did it.
“She just had such a skill in communicating and a disarming pleasantness.”