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Posted on Jul 29 2022 by Fiona Bailey

Young people from the St Andrew’s Healthcare Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) got a taste of the big outdoors recently when they embarked upon a camping adventure.

The trip was part of the Duke of Edinburgh award, which gives young people aged between 14 and 24 the opportunity to develop themselves in scenarios they would not normally experience.

The idea behind the trip was to take the patients out of their comfort zones in a safe and controlled environment. The activities they took part in during the trip were carefully chosen to help build their confidence, boost their teamwork skills and strengthen their friendships.

The young people were asked to navigate themselves around their surroundings using only picture route cards and different navigational techniques such as coordinates, compass bearings and basic map reading skills before setting up the camp.

A scavenger hunt took place and teams were encouraged to race against the clock to find different items around the site.

In the evening they slept in tents and ate food that was freshly prepared on the campsite. 

Duke of Edinburgh coordinator and assessor Ian Bradley, who is also a teacher at the St Andrew’s College within CAMHS, said: “This is an excellent achievement for everyone who took part in the camp and achieved this section of the award. For some this was their first experience of camping and everyone stated that they enjoyed the activity.

“It’s always wonderful to go back to basics and be around nature, and I think the young people really benefitted from being in a completely new environment and to experience new things. Lots of fresh air and exercise does wonders to improve wellbeing.”

Dale Goodacre, CAMHS Head of Nursing popped in on his way home and added: “The young people and staff seemed to be having a lovely time, tents were set up and the dinner was being cooked when I turned up. To be honest I was quite tempted to stay, but then I remembered I had a bed to sleep in!

“But seriously, I am extremely proud of the young people who took part. It was an amazing accomplishment and many of them have told me how much they learnt from their night away.”