There was a very interesting article in the Guardian last week with some interesting implications for field safety and outdoor skills training. Not a new topic but quite an in-depth discussion of outdoor adventure for kids and if it is a reality or even a possibility in the modern world.
It contained the rather scary calculation based on an example family where the grandmother at the age of 11 roamed across 50 square miles. The father, in the 1970s, roamed within 1 square mile. His children wander freely only as far as their 140-square-metre garden permits. Whilst it is always good to maintain a healthy dose of cynicism of the rose tinted glasses view on the past, it does seem to ring true with much of our experience.
There is some wonderful work done in outdoor education centres and schools in getting kids out to do outdoor and adventurous activities. We’d like to think that some of these opportunities are wider and more accessible than they have been in the past.
At the same time there is still more work to be done in encouraging parents to be less risk averse and more adventurous with their children and indeed creating opportunities for kids to explore by themselves. Training such as the RGS off-site safety management course and the new RLSS Water Safety Management Program has made headway in arming parents, teachers and activity coordinators with the skills to manage safety and carry out dynamic risk assessment which looks to manage but not eliminate risk. However there is clearly far more which can still be done.
To read the article in full see the Guardian online.