Team Building & Bushcraft at WiseUP

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When we heard about WiseUP's mobile team building workshops, which were designed to address the difficulties of taking groups of students out of school, we had to know more. We spoke to the team over at WiseUP and got their take on team building, bushcraft, learning outcomes and more.

Hi Richard, Alex and Jess. I would like to start by getting an overview of WiseUp and what you do?

"WiseUp is a mobile provider of outdoor education. This means we travel all over the UK, from the highlands of Scotland to the beaches of Cornwall and everywhere in between, bringing our activities into schools, universities, colleges, youth groups and camps.

Bushcraft

Do you have experience in more traditional team building activity centres? And what led you to start your mobile team building workshops?

"All of the management team at WiseUp began our careers at the traditional outdoor centres, working not just here in the UK but also abroad, including centres in South Africa, Cyprus, the UAE and Oman. These were great experiences which we all enjoyed, but time and again teachers were having conversations with us about how tight budgets were becoming and how logistically it was getting more difficult to take students out of school for a day of activities. The idea of creating an outreach company was born, eliminating the logistics of manoeuvring sometimes hundreds of students on and off coaches for teachers as well as significantly reducing the cost of the days. By reducing the cost, this also makes our activity days much more accessible to students from lower income families who are often the ones who benefit from these days the most.

Bushcraft activities are very popular, however it typically means traveling and a residential stay. How do you provide this type of activity in a school visit?

"As long as a school has some space, we can run Bushcraft sessions! We bring all of the materials needed, including the wood and tarps for shelter building, the tools for whittling and the materials for water purification. Additionally, we bring fire bowls and stands to run our firelighting sessions, although for health and safety reasons, these particular sessions do need to be outside!

You have alot of different activities available for your bushcraft workshops. What are some of the favourite activities with pupils and students and why?

"Firelighting is always hugely popular with any age group. We offer age appropriate sessions, so students in the sixth form for example will be taking part in the more advanced firelighting than students in a primary school. Shelter building is another favourite and understandably so - who doesn't love building a den?! It may be for a team mascot (supplied) or to protect the whole team itself from an incoming WiseUp provided rain storm!

school farm trip

What are some of the educational and developmental benefits of Bushcraft activities?

"Young people nowadays are spending significantly less time outdoors, and taking part in these sessions encourages them to put down the tech, get off the sofa and go outside to play in nature instead! Students exposed to sunlight and fresh air are proven to focus better back in the classroom. The hands on skills gained during our Bushcraft days also improves participants dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination. As teamwork is a core focus for us, we keep this theme going in our Bushcraft activities, with students helping and supporting one another as they learn new skills.

You also offer some great team building activities that sound like a lot of fun. Can they be linked into learning objectives or are they mostly used as a reward?

"Our challenges have been designed around the UK National Curriculum attainment aims and Ofsted targets, so meet a range of different learning outcomes, from language skills to physical development. The flexible nature of our activity days means they can be tailored to suit the needs of the school, so if a fun reward day is what is required, we can certainly provide that! Many schools use us to give students an enjoyable day after the stresses of exam time or for the winners of inter-house competitions.

Can you offer activities for winter months?

"WiseUp runs activities all throughout the year, including the dreary winter months. Many of our challenges are able to be run indoors, using sports halls, classrooms, even corridors if needed!



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