Explorer teaches trekking skills
A FORMER Royal marine and intrepid explorer – who is planning a solo 500-mile canoe across Canada – is inviting more youngsters to learn how to trek in the wild.
In his spare time Jamie Webb launched the Duke of Edinburgh Open Award Centre (OAC), based on the Lizard.
The builder and keen explorer said he wanted to offer DoE training as cheaply as possible so that more young people could explore the great outdoors.
Having completed Arctic survival courses and trekked with the Sami reindeer people of northern Scandinavia, he now wants to share his knowledge and experience with local people. He said: "This year I canoed across Scotland and many other wilderness routes, and I am currently planning a 500-mile unsupported canoe trip in the Agonquin region of Canada.
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"I set up the OAC because I felt increasingly frustrated that our current culture creates young people that are scared of wild places just because they are told to be.
"I want to influence a few young people to think the opposite way about wilderness travel and hopefully some of them will see some of the incredible sights that I have been lucky enough to see and that others with lesser skills and competence will never see."
Using his skills as a former marine, he teaches people, aged 14 to 25, how to cope in all weathers and terrain while trekking outdoors.
He added: "We are all volunteers, with some great helpers who willingly give their time. Although we do the whole award, our main focus is the expedition training, because of our previous experience."
Launched in January, the OAC has so far helped 24 people achieve their DoE awards, two of which, Rhea King, 15, and Hannah Gillett, 15, were judged to be "outstanding".
In a joint statement the girls summed up their experience saying: "It was initially very daunting. Although it took us a while to learn how to accurately use the expedition maps, compass and other equipment, we loved every minute of it; the thrill of hiking over rocky grounds, clambering over styles, and camping in the great outdoors with makeshift toilets.
"Duke of Edinburgh isn't just about camping and hiking though, it gives you the opportunity to learn new skills outside of training such as dance, art or any other skill that you want to pursue.
"We may have learnt how to pitch a tent, cook a meal from scratch and navigate around the countryside, but we have also learnt how take responsibility for ourselves and it has taught us to have a better outlook on life."
The organisation received £2,600 funding from REG Windpower, which operates Goonhilly wind farm, so it could buy new equipment and pay its fees to use the Mawgan Village Hall, where it meets weekly.
It is hosting a welcome evening on September 17 with an enrolment evening on September 24, 7pm at Mawgan Recreational Hall.
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