Youngsters learn new skills at weekly club

Members of the Outdoors Club. Photograph by Iain Geldard/UWFRA.
Members of the Outdoors Club. Photograph by Iain Geldard/UWFRA.

As well as saving lives we also enrich young lives by way of our Outdoors Club. Set up 16 years’ ago the weekly club gives local Dales youngsters between the ages of 10 to adult the opportunity to enjoy the great local outdoors through climbing, abseiling, caving, trekking, camping, first aid – you name it they do it.

Run by team members, with support from some of the parents, it is a huge success with more than 150 youngsters having benefitted over the years.

Some have even gone on to become team members – the surface leader Matt Richardson and Aly Brook our assistant surface leader being two current examples.

We also have Scott Haslim 20 who not only went on to forge a career as an Outdoors Instructor but came back to the Outdoors Club as an adult instructor.

Scott said: “I joined the club aged 14.

“From the very first activity, a weekend meet in the Lake District, I was amazed at what was going on – multi pitch climbing up rock walls hundreds of feet tall it was unlike anything I had experienced before.

“It was truly exhilarating. Prior to all this I had been just a typical teenager.

“Now my weekly activities included caving, mountain biking, climbing even simulated rescues giving me experiences and teaching me skills that are just not available anywhere else.

“I achieved such a lot and I feel this is all thanks to UWFRA’s Outdoor Club and its inspirational leaders.”

Founder leader and team member Mark Rowley is full of praise for the youngsters. He said: “They are super kids and they are up for anything.

“Such is their focus and enjoyment we decided to introduce a scheme for recording individual members’ progress in learning the skills necessary for taking part in sports and outdoor activities.

“We have three main categories and three levels to achieve.

“We use log books and we have a graded list of some of the climbs and caves where they have to reach one of the levels to take part – it really works well.

“Log books are similar to those used by the Mountain Leadership Board as well as the local Cave and Rescue Leaders Scheme.

“Level three is an extremely high level and may take several years but would benefit someone wishing to make a career in outdoor pursuits or joining the National Instructor Scheme or indeed becoming a full member of a rescue team.

“UWFRA is delighted we have produced Outdoor Club members for both of these achievements.

“Many of the youngsters are thrilled to reach the lower levels – what really matters is that we all just get out there and enjoy ourselves’’

The club currently has 30 members, all it costs is £30 a year to mainly cover the insurance costs.

UWFRA paid to set up the club with equipment and we were more than pleased when North Yorkshire Police in recognising our work gave us some funding they had available from the sale of items from recovered crime.