Get Wild Child

I’m peeking out from a porthole in a shelter made from sticks, grass and leaves onto a cleared circle of bushland where four large blocks of Cadbury chocolate are being guarded by fierce giants. Surrounding them, gum trees send filtered light from between the leaves down onto a forest floor of native grasses, lomandra, and bracken. A fern jerks awkwardly, two small human eyes peering out from within the clump. Looking closer, I see the ground is a sea of small figures on their bellies, faces painted with ochre and dirt, inching forward towards the target.

I hand signal to my team to move. Four eight-year-old girls decorated with vines and leaves sink to the earth, and begin a slow creep. One turns her head back to me and smiles excitedly, her face darkened with mud.

Watching from the rear, I smile to myself involuntarily. Was this really the girl who was so scared of leeches five days ago that even sitting on the ground was a challenge?

It’s the last day of a Rewild your Child camp, and the forty-five kids currently testing their camouflage and stealth skills have long forgotten their fear of spiders, their ipads, and their parents back at camp.

Held on the south coast of NSW, the camps aim to facilitate connection with the natural environment, using the life skills that our hunter-gatherer ancestors practiced. Finding shelter, food and water; making fire and learning to move and see with new awareness of ourselves and others.

ReWild Your Child is an outdoors program that runs during school holidays, for kids from 2 yrs to teen.

Each day, a team of experienced mentors takes your kids on an adventure in the bush, where bushcraft skills, storytelling and nature awareness combine to create an empowering learning experience.

One day we might be finding bush foods and making shelters, the next day we could be working out what the birds are saying to each other or discovering where water can be found on the landscape. We  explore waterfalls and caves, go tracking on the beach and tell stories by the campfire.

Your kids will learn the skills, and the attitude, necessary to feel truly safe and at home in the bush. They'll also absorb the 'meta-skills' for success in any environment, things like: curiosity; communication; problem-solving; awareness; teamwork and responsibility. And they'll do all this while having the time of their lives, under the careful guidance of trained mentors.

Lack of outside time is now a recognised ‘disorder’. Lack of nature time is harmful for psychological, and physical development. Humans need nature to grow. Not just optional leisure but vital for human growth.

In 2009, it was reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that over 40% of children aged 5-14 watched an average of 20+ hours of television per fortnight. In the same report, it was revealed that 40% of children also spent less than 2 hours per fortnight doing informal physical activity (e.g. riding a bike etc).