Monday, 17 December 2012

Introducing the Project - Walking in their Shoes

We are a group of 14 young people (aged 15 - 25, half with additional needs) who want to explore some ancient pathways of Dorset. 

We will walk in the shoes of a Saxon pilgrim, St Aldhelm along this route. 

The routes have been in use since the stone age but are rarely used by young people today. The project will create opportunities to explore the layers of history in the surrounding areas along the paths. By walking in the shoes of a Saxon pilgrim we will step out of our every-day lives on a physical and a reflective journey. 

A GPS Geocache history treasure hunt will tempt young people and make learning history fun. We will be Geo-caching two parts of the route. One part will go from Hillfield Friary to Blackdown via Abbotsbury because it is steeped in historical clues in the landscape.

The other part, between Moreton and Bovington, follows a path that soldiers preparing for the First World War trained on.

One of our volunteers dressed up
as a WW1 soldier at Bovington Tank Museum
We know the Ist World War effects every
family in Dorset.

The group discussing partnership
with Bovington Tank Museum

How we are using Geocaching in our project

Geocache box 
 We will hide history treasure boxes along the route. In the cache boxes you will find written information and access digital information through QR codes about the best history stories we have discovered along our path. Also in the boxes there will be pilgrim shells for people to take on their journey and questions to inspire self- reflection en-route. People will be encouraged to respond to our questions in a journal or by texting our blog.

Our Geocache route will be available on the international Geocache website. We are also going to try and make our own app with the help of volunteers in our Microsoft Hub team. When our Geocache route is downloaded onto your phone or Geocache device you will see a map like this one >>.

It will lead you within one metre of our history treasure box.

Edward, our Geocache expert setting
off with members of our group

Geocaching on a smart phone 

You will also be able to download coordinates
so that you can find the treasure box with a map and compass.

A Geocaching device

Our Project so Far!

Our partners, The Military Keep Museum, Dorset County Museum, The Bovington Tank Museum, The Dorset History Centre and The Salisbury Diocese (logos on the top right) have pledged to help us research stories & information to put in our history treasure boxes. 

We will learn research methods to explore and interpret historical clues in the landscape, particularly archaeology and buildings on route. They will help us use their archives and access other ones. We will learn how they have told history stories in their museums and they will advise us on how to use the oral history family memories of the First World War that we are going to collect in Care homes. 

As a group of young people, some with additional needs, we will advise them on how to use Geo-caching to promote their museums and give our views on their new projects.

They are really excited about our project and have offered all sorts of extra help like coming on the walks with us and linking us up to the TA to help us get ready for camping out under the stars when we walk the whole route.

Our Dorset Young Remembers planning group is really popular. We all work together with a huge range of abilities with the support of a project worker and two adult volunteers. 

We have new members joining all the time. We have met twice a week since October with the main group attracting ten people every session. We will have finished our plan in January. We will make sure our new project includes as many new young people in Dorset as we can. In the centre of the photo is a representative from Salisbury Diocese who has put together her own modern pilgrimage trail. 

Meeting with the Learning Officer from the Bovington Tank Museum. On the right is Jonathan, our volunteer graphic designer and next to him is Issy, who walked the Ten Tors to raise money to buy a Geocache device for the group and other youth clubs to borrow.

Amy and Alex mind-mapped groups of young people, some with additional needs who may benefit from participating in the project. Amy successfully raised bus fare and refreshment money from Dorset County Council to keep us going. Dorset Youth Association funded our project worker, Lorna Johnson for a short time to help us research our new project.

Our mind maps 

Our group with some new members. We know from a previous project that just being in our group and doing something good together has a significant impact on the lives of many young people. If we get a green light we want to share our work with lots of groups of young people.

Our group watching a Team Team episode which focused on a section of our route because it is so rich in historical evidence in the landscape. They were using phenomenology (a type of research method) that Pippa from the Dorset County Museum said she will help us link into an archaeological project she is working on.  

Rosie came up with the idea of putting shells in the boxes and has many history books focusing on Dorset local history, pilgrimage and way-marking. Way-marking is the posting of signs – or way-marks, along a route so that travelers can easily follow the route.

Charlotte helped the group plan what activities they would like to do.  Charlotte and Lee work as carers with older people  and want to help other young carers learn how to record oral history family memories linked to WW1. 

Edward the Geo-cache genius has progressed onto college from our group but wants to help us as part of the Microsoft Hub team that has just formed at Routes cafe. 

Jack and Jenny are now at uni but want to come back to peer mentor new members of the group in oral history recording as part of our research collecting First World War family memories in Dorset.

We want history to be fun and our group members to learn and develop through being part of our team.


Meeting Our Funding Project Officer From HLF

On the 18th of December we had a visit from Philippa Davies from the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Routes Program. Over a nice hot cup of tea and healthy refreshments baked by some of the group, she gave us some good and useful advice on how to improve our project plan. She was very keen on hearing about the project from the perspective of the young volunteer and why we wanted to do it.

Philippa enjoyed talking to members of the group: "It was really lovely to meet them all and to hear their ideas and input into the project. It was very clear that they are all very enthusiastic and committed to the project."

HLF Young Roots - we need your help to make our project a success!