Monday 27 August 2012

Kids needed to promote the outdoors

Using the sense of touch to get to know a tree in Fryent Country Park
Seeing the reaction of children when they visit Brent School Without Walls LINK with me in Fryent Country Park and have the chance to run through meadows, build shelters, pond dip and bug hunt, always reminds me of the importance of such experiences.  Often children seen as behaviour problems in school surprise their teachers by their engagement and on one occasion that I remember a child who was an elective mute in class chattered happily about what she was doing.

Now there's an opportunity for children themselves to find ways of encouraging more children to make use of the outdoors.

A group of advisors – made up entirely of children – is being recruited by the National Trust to provide advice on how to encourage more of the nation’s children outdoors. The idea follows the charity’s recent Natural Childhood Report of 50 things to do before the age of 11¾ campaign. It shows the Trust stepping up its game in encouraging children to explore the outdoors and to experience nature at first hand.

The National Trust is looking to sign up ten children aged between seven and twelve to the council where they are to take up an important role in developing the charity’s outdoor campaigns as well as making their properties more fun for younger children.

The perfect candidate will be brimming with enthusiasm and fun, plus having a natural love for the outdoors and fresh air. Potential applicants are also required to have an adventurous spirit and a wild imagination. A fondness for rolling down hills or jumping in muddy puddles would be considered a bonus.

 Offering children the chance to try out the National Trust and to gain inspiration on what might be improved, if appointed to the Kids’ Council, the Trust has opened up its doors to children for free during the whole month of August. Over 200 places are be free of charge to children, giving the opportunity to explore National Trust properties across the country.

Successful applicants to the council will be announced later in the year. These children will be offered free year-long access to places for themselves and their family. Canoeing, surfing and camping will be part of the winning prize to offer kids and their families access to the full range of the National Trust properties.

The Kids’ Council will meet throughout 2013 and will report its findings to the National Trust’s Visitor Experience Director so that suggestions can be put into practice, helping make the outdoors more fun for the nation’s kids.

The application process closes on 7th September 2012. Application forms can be downloaded from the website at and sent back via email or handed in at National Trust properties.

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, comments: 
We are really committed to helping kids enjoy the great outdoors and we want to make our places the most fun and family-friendly day out destinations in the UK.  I’m really excited that our new Kids’ Council will help us do just that. Our Kids go Free promotion for the entire month of August will not only give kids and their families the chance to go out and explore, but hopefully inspire them to apply for our Kids’ Council and so let is know what we can do better in future.

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