Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Camping at Avon Tyrell - 13/14th June

By Jack, Michael, and James.

At Avon Tyrrell
This weekend the group stayed at Avon Tyrrell outdoor activity centre, to learn navigation skills (useful for setting up our walks) and experience life as a First World War soldier. We pitched and slept in Bell tents, which involved an individual supporting a pole whilst others set the tent over the top. Sleeping in the tents was an enjoyable experience, despite the fact there was rain full which woke us all up.

The activities for the weekend included, map reading tasks, in which we split into teams of three and explored the area in search of check points, within thirty minutes. This exercise enabled us to learn orienteering skills to help us with our walk.

Our Pizzas!
Ashley leading the way.
Making the Hay Box
In addition, the group also challenged themselves to prepare and cook a pizza on a camp fire, with only basic equipment available, similar to the conditions soldiers would have had in the trenches. We had create a  pizza dough using gluten free flour, which proved a challenge to the making of the base, as it lacked in texture. We then added tomato sauce on top and grated cheese along side a pepperoni topping. The pizza was then folded and placed on top of a wire sheet above the camp fire. We allowed twenty minutes for it to be cooked and the result was a messy and soft pizza pasty which was not pleasant to eat. We also cooked a replica Maconchie stew similar to Irish stew which soldiers would have ate during the war, a definite improvement from the pizza disaster! We even practiced keeping the food warm in our own hay box.

Michael in the buggy
On Saturday the group ventured across Avon Tyrrell  into the New Forest where we individually navigated the entire group in order to return to our original destination. We ventured through open moors and through dense woodland of the forest, leading to open roads. One of our volunteers Michael drove a an all terrain BOMA buggy which allowed him to cross difficult areas that he otherwise would have not been able to. The walk was equally enjoyable as well as a challenge for all of us because of the hot temperature. The purpose of this walk was to enable us to set up our own walks whilst improving our navigation skills and team work. This was also to try and replicate the journey of a soldiers training for war.

The weekend showed us we were able to work well outdoors as a team and behave responsibly. We learned skills in navigation, cooking, communicating and map reading.We are very grateful to our tutors, Damon and Lewis, at Avon Tyrrell for their support and giving us fun activities to do. We would love to come back again soon!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Soldiers in Training

By Jack Welch, Volunteer Press Officer

10 June 2014

Embedded image permalinkThe WITS team were thinking about healthy living today, as we made a trip to the STEPS Youth Club in Weymouth for an accredited course in considering their lifestyles and experiencing first-hand the physical training of a World War II soldiers. Despite the fact our project focuses on the previous War, research found that fitness courses for volunteer soldiers for this era, and previously, was rather inconsistent for using Swiss techniques, which for many who went on the frontline, were greatly unprepared for what confronted them. It wasn't until the introduction of the Parkour training discipline, and the methods of how American G.I.'s were trained, that a change came about.

The group first underwent a circuit course, which encompassed exercises including press-ups and sit-ups, as well as jump squats and shuttle runs. Like any good fitness fanatic, we had a good warm-up first to ensure our joints and muscles would be flexible as possible for the training ahead and we'd be ready for whatever was thrown at us. In small teams, the groups went through each discipline for a maximum of two minutes (a blessing, probably for some) and began to feel the burn as a soldier might have done on a regular basis. For many in the group though, they made the most of the physical challenges and only wished they could go outdoors in the brilliant sunshine outside.

Embedded image permalinkFollowing that, the group made their way to the meeting room, where greeted with a healthy selection of snack-bars and an assortment of fruit, we now went into what makes a good healthy diet for most people. Looking at topics on the recommended food varieties we should eat, such as vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and fibre sourced products, as well as recommended sleep amounts in the evening, the group were surprised just to see the number of dangerous foods that  caused issues as diabetes, insomnia and obesity. However, it's not just the food we eat which can be trusted for a healthy body alone - without actual exercise, any of the natural fats and sugars we consume would become food waste inside our bodies. It looks like that having the healthy mindset is equally as important to get out and about.

With this weekend's camping in the New Forset, we'll be sure our bodies will be in tip-top condition for the coming activity!