Sophie, Outdoor Instructor, UK

Never did I imagine myself on the other side of the world instructing all age groups in an outdoor adventure camp. Leaving New Zealand was hard, a few tears were shed and I was on a plane for a glorious 24 hours. Next stop was my placement, Youlbury Scout Activity Centre. A 40 acre camp nestled in the woods, situated about 10 minutes from Oxford, a beautiful University City that I now call home. I love on site in the “team building” along with five other gap students from Australia and New Zealand, and also six other members of staff who are from the UK. Our home is cosy; we all have a daily turn at household jobs, which include cooking the team lunch and dinner and also the odd bit of house work. One of the best things I find at Youlbury is that everyone seems to be equal here, we do all the same jobs and share similar responsibilities (minus office work) there is a great sense of team work here and everyone gets along so well.

My day consists of being at reception at 8.30 or 9.00am for the days briefing, we are given a schedule of what activities are being run and who is instructing them, also other jobs like the morning toilet block clean are dealt to. As the day progresses we get on and instruct groups, when business is quiet we have the pleasure of doing maintenance work around site. Our day tends to end around 5pm, although in the summer we will get involved with groups staying on site and host camp fires (I have no problem with roasting a marshmallow or two!)

 

A lot of volunteers come to Youlbury, people of all ages come to work at the camp every so often, and since being here I have met many people, and made good friends. Also being mainly Scout orientated I have learnt skills such as wood chopping, fire making and cooking on a fire, and I can imagine I will only develop more skills during my stay. Not only have I learnt some practical skills, I have also gained qualifications, I now have an international certificate for archery and my level one high ropes course instructors certificate, I have also completed a first aid course and I am doing a rifles course this coming week. The opportunities given to me here are amazing!

Being an outdoors activity centre we do not get the glorious amounts of holidays that school placements get, but I am personally happy with what I get, we apply for time off and if granted we are free to go wherever, travel is cheap and with all my new found friends it is never hard to find a travel partner! The only regret I have is not saving more money before I came over here, but I am coping with what I have and trying to save all my weekly pocket money!

Overall my experience here so far has been amazing, apart from my week of homesickness, I now feel on top of the world!!! I would highly recommend outdoor education placements also, we have so much flexibility and have a new adventure every day.