Not going to lie- although I’ve wanted to add biographies to the website for a while to give that human face- rather than a corporate, logo-presenting appearance- to actually sit down and write about yourself is a little daunting! It feels strange, and a little sycophantic- especially as I feel humble that the successes of what we, and I, do, is largely based on the benefit of being in wild places with great activities and the ability to explore!
Without doubt, it’s easier to write in the third person- as if another is writing about yourself. Indeed, that is how the other biographies of Ali, Andy and the rest of the team will be written- but I suppose this one will be written in the first person! We have put together a list or areas to comment on in the biographies, and as a structure I suppose I’ll follow this and tell you a little about me!
Who I am as an Adventure Leader:
Adventure Leader: this is something I’ve really thought about! What is my job title!? Do I lead adventures? Do I facilitate them? Do they need to be lead? One thing is straight- I’m not an instructor; or a teacher! But do I lead adventures, or just make them possible? Some deep and philosophical thoughts here!
Ultimately, I see myself as an Outdoor Adventure Practitioner, using different activities and approaches to allow you to have adventurous experiences in wild places- but, these experiences aren’t just for the sake of having them, or some adrenaline chasing quest; rather, they are about unearthing the qualities that we, as people, posses- and putting them to good use! Whether these qualities are curiosity, resilience, perseverance, self-regulation or simply the desire to explore!
What experience have I got and what qualification do I need to do it:
Ah- the qualification versus experience conundrum! I’ve worked with some people who are just brilliant, but have few qualifications or are working towards them. And then, I know people with loads of qualifications, or those at a very high level- but are just useless with people! What I try to seek is a balance between qualifications and attitude- all laid against a background of the groups we are working with and the activity we are doing!
I think qualifications allow us to do activities; but, our attitude allows us to work with different people- so it’s here that our experience is worth it’s weight in gold!
So, my first experience of leading groups was at the age of 16 when doing studying Outdoor Education at college. And then working at various outdoor centres and training companies, with groups of school children, teenagers, young adults, adults and older people. These have been for simple enjoyment, educational enrichment, personal development, employability skills, to promote mental, physical, spiritual, social and emotional well-being. So the approaches I have taken have been wide and varied!
The qualification I have include:
- Mountain Leader
- Single Pitch Award (Rock Climbing Instructor)
- Canoe and Kayak Coach
- Archery Instructor
- Rifle Instructor
- Forest School Practitioner
- Advanced Bushcraft Award
- Leave No Trace Trainer
- DofE Supervisor and Assessor
- BA(Hons) Education & Training
- MA Education
- FdA Leadership & Management
As well as this, I have a wilderness first aid certificate! As an aside, I’m often asked what qualifications people working with Rewilding Adventure would need- without doubt these are: Mountain Leader; Forest School Practitioner, Archery Instructor and Rifle Instructor- then we will work towards getting people qualified as Axe Throwing Instructors through our own training programme.
How do I want to develop?
This is a case of things I want to do, and things that I think would really benefit the people we work with (so in turn, things that I really want to do!). As part of my development plan, I know that by the end of 2020, I want to work towards:
- Level 4 Applied Bushcraft Certificate
- Level 4 Woodland Management for Conservation and Recreation
- Part 1 of the Mindfulness Teacher Training
And- I am currently working towards securing the Accredited Practitioner of the Institute for Outdoor Learning (APIOL) status- which is proving to be a really interesting process!
Something funny or unusual about me:
My wife will kill me for this! Our youngest daughter, Poppy, arrived quickly! Too quickly to get to the hospital! So she was born in the back of the car!
Favorite thing cooked on a fire:
What really appeals to me is that we can forage for thing sin the forest and cook them! I think, of everything, my absolute favourite is wild garlic in a tempura batter- it’s just lovely!
If I could have any adventure, what would it be?
This question is very much a personal thing. Every one of us has a different adventure-need; according on our experiences, interests and personal orientations. I think for me, what I like is a few days in a remote and wild place- undertaking a journey, using skills and abilities that are a little more developed. Building on previous canoe expeditions on the Spey and other long UK rivers, I think my ideal would be a one or two week wilderness canoe journey in somewhere like Canada, or a ski touring expedition in Norway.
If I was a tree or an animal- which one would I be and why?
Ha ha- this question seemed easy when I was asking other people it…
… not sure now.
I think the Ash tree- Fraxinus Excelsior! It’s got a noble quality to it, but is quite a stoic feature in a forest- as well as being quite versatile! I suppose these qualities I aspire to have! Actually, Rewilding Adventure was almost Excelsior Adventure- Excelsior being Latin for reaching ever higher and striving for greatness!