Our first Pertwood Youth Camp of 2014

The beginning of the school holidays can only mean one thing at Global Generation - kicking off our flagship youth leadership programme with a residential experience in the stunning countryside, writes Rachel Solomon.

2014 marks 10 years since the establishment of our dedicated campsite at Pertwood Organic Farm in Wiltshire.

The site, which is nestled in a beautiful hawthorne copse, has been kindly donated to us by the owners of Lower Pertwood farm, to use as the countryside home of our charity.

With its 360 degree vista of rolling hills and its remarkable stone circle, Pertwood is the ideal location to bring young people to, enabling them to step away from their city lives and to find their way into a new perspective.

Being silent gives the entire world around us a completely different perspective, filling it with new sounds, sights, even smells.
— Ranya, 13

As always, Silvia and I are dedicated to reviewing all aspects of our work, thinking about how we ensure we co-create a programme with and for our young people that is really relevant to them and gives them the best opportunities.

This year, based on our own experiences through our staff development programme, we wanted to adapt the plan for the camp to hold a hopefully simple yet powerful frame throughout; one of asking the staff and young people involved to hold amongst us the questions of who are we and what are we a part.

Although we were unsure of how this would pan out over the course of the camp, Silvia, our new chef Sadhbh and I watched as the new Generators found their feet there and let go of any preconceptions.

Generators Carlos, Chiss, Diana, Jessica, Joseph, Ranya, Taitum, Tunji and Wendy participated in both practical and reflective tasks, supported by Senior Generators Kaine, Kira and Nene.

From the evening we arrived at Pertwood until our final afternoon there, we all felt there was a deep presence amongst the group, whether when weaving along the pathways of bramble and gorse collecting firewood, foraging for blackberries and raspberries, walking amongst the sheep and wildflowers, creating and sharing meals, reflecting together in our beautiful new bell tent under ominous thunderstorm or sitting around the campfire chatting over chocolate bananas.

Jessica, 17, said that she spent her time

giving my full attention to the activities planned, conversations I have had and our habitat for the past couple of days.

Joseph, 17, wrote

I have explored who I am and what I am part of by letting go and just going along with what has been happening. Like the surroundings I find myself in, it has all come naturally and under no false pretences, pressure or outside influence.

Tunji, 16, said of his experience:

I realised I am a person who hasn’t experienced much other than my life in London, however perhaps coming to Pertwood is a turning point. I am part of a beautiful universe (with faults) and I’ve learnt to appreciate what I’m a part of as it is quite amazing.

All photos courtesy of Kira Collins, 16, Senior Generator on our Photography programme.