Summer Rock 2019 was a multi-activity training and adventure week delivered by the London Area Sea Cadets Adventure Training Team. The weeklong camp this year was based at Pirbright military training camp in Surrey.
The event took 48 young people between the ages of 12-18 from across London and gave them the opportunities to undertake a paddle expedition, learn to bushcraft, Mountain bike and Rock Climb. Each cadet undertook two of the activities for two days each. The activities were chosen to go beyond the adventurous training they would normally undertake, give them opportunities they wouldn’t get at their base units and to challenge them in order to develop their teamwork, leadership and sense of adventure.
The cadets did more than just get a ‘taste’ of the activities, they learnt both theory and practical skills, gained Sea Cadet badges and developed knowledge key to their continued development in the Sea Cadets. Many came away with their basic rock climbing, their basic mountain biking and or their British canoeing Discover or Explore qualifications.
The rock Climbers started off with a bit of theory, learnt how to put on and fit the important safety equipment; harness’s and helmets. We then went to the indoor climbing wall at Guildford sports park and were introduced to tying in and belaying. After plenty of practice on the ground cadets in small teams climbed and belayed each other. Once everyone was competent the day was finished off with a spot of bouldering. The next day the cadets practiced the skills they had learnt on the indoor wall on real rock, southern sandstone to be precise at a place called stone farm. After a quick assessment to qualify for their sea cadet climbing badge cadets put their new found skills to the test and spent the day getting to grip with all the unique features of the crag.
Mountain bikers descended on Swinley forest for two days where they got to explore the forest slowly moving from the paths onto single tracks. The second day saw cadets attempt some of the tougher trails on offer. Then after a short ice cream break they were able to learn some of the theory behind mountain biking. Undertaking basic maintenance, how to change tyres and trail rules in order to gain their mountain biking badge.
The paddlers were based in the grounds of Guidlford sea cadet unit where they set up camp. The first day saw them practice their skills in a range of craft with cadets having a go at canoes, closed cockpit kayaks and sit on top kayaks. It was essential that all cadets can move around the river safely before setting them off. Once everyone was up to speed they set off up the river Wey, stopping to camp out overnight on the river bank before continuing their voyage.
Bushcrafting allowed cadets to camp out in ash ranges in a more minimalistic way closer to nature. They learnt all the skills necessary to camp out and use the materials around them in a sustainable way. This included shelter building, knife and saw safety skills, tree identification, rope making and a multitude of ways to start a fire. After learning this they were able to set up their own camp and make their own shelter which was impressive. There were hammocks standing by just in case. They also got the chance to try some basic food preparation and cooking over the open fire. The activities were completed with some archery and the use of atl atl’’s carefully supervised by the staff.
We hope that their experiences will lead to increased uptake in adventurous training activities by cadets in London area. Already we have received some positive feedback and more interest in some of the other courses and events we run. None of this would have been possible without the kind support of the Ulysses trust.