Bethan, a Girlguiding volunteer, talks about overcoming limited outdoor spaces in cities to enjoy ‘wild time’ wherever you are…
As Leader of an inner-city Rainbow group in London, I’ve got plenty of experience in being inventive with available outdoor space. I currently have 11 girls in my Rainbow group, all aged five to seven, and we don’t let our urban surroundings stop us having ‘wild time’!
Rainbows is part of Girlguiding, the UK’s leading charity for girls and young women. Open to all girls aged five to seven, it offers a safe space for girls to try new and exciting things, grow in confidence and have fun.
My group meets at a school in Paddington. We’re lucky to have access to the school grounds, which include a woodland area – perfect for outdoor fun and games. The girls recently took part in an adventure treasure hunt in the woods, which they loved.
Girlguiding is led by girls and develops its programme to reflect what they want. Girlguiding LaSER (London and the South East) has created a series of fun badges called Growing Up Wild, to encourage girls who live in cities to reconnect with nature and give them a chance to learn more about the outside world. The badges are based around themes such as the seaside, rivers and waterways, and the four seasons.
Because the programme is created for urban members, it’s really flexible and offers loads of ideas for different activities. There’s always something you can do in the space you have. We recently used a city park sandpit to make sandcastles; no need to travel to the coast!
My advice for city parents who want to do outdoor activities with their kids is to be creative. Think about the space you have, and make the most of it. Consider contacting local schools and centres, and use public transport to take advantage of nearby parks and public spaces.
Lastly, don’t forget to take advantage of the support available in your local area. Girlguiding offers girls and young women a great space for outdoor adventure – from thrill-seeking activities such as abseiling and zip-lining to learning about survival skills in group meetings. Girlguiding is open to all girls and costs are kept as low as possible to ensure every girl can take part. For more information about how to join visit girlguiding.org.uk
Bethan Gudgeon, 25, is a Girlguiding volunteer based in London. Originally from the Lake District, Bethan is a primary school teacher and runs a weekly Rainbow group for girls aged five to seven.
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