Play Gloucestershire’s Young Volunteers gathered recently for  a training camp in the village of Saul, near Stroud. They took part in a memorable and playful weekend of development, friendship and fun. The 22 young people were joined by 16 Play Rangers and together undertook training in diverse topics including den building, creative play, rucksack games, fit for play, the future of Play Gloucestershire, playwork theory and future volunteering plans.

The training programme was led by our inspiring Play Ranger Team Leaders, Ben and Katie, and it was exciting for everyone to be gathered together at the same venue. This is a real treat for us, with Rangers and young people from all county districts meeting and mixing. It gives them an insight into the scale of our work in both urban and rural communities and is a great way to share skills and new ideas. One Young Volunteer, Toni, said “I never knew there were this many Play Rangers!”

The Canvas Cottage Company helped us ‘glamp’ it up with hire of their lovely bell tents complete with rugs, airbeds and solar lights, and Team PG completed the festival vibe with celebration fire pit and our own ukulele-playing Ranger Lana. Munching through lots of healthy campfire cooked food was a great way of developing cooking skills and trying new foods. Karl showed several Rangers an empty cup smiling and saying “I don’t even like peas and I’m having seconds of pea soup!’

Our Young Volunteers were a mixture of experienced teenagers who have clocked up hundreds of volunteer hours, and some younger ones just starting out. Several young people had never been away from home before and were really nervous about it. One of them said “Bagel says if I get scared at night I can nudge him, he will nudge Josh and they’ll both sit up with me to make sure I am okay. I often have nightmares and worry too much about my Mum and stuff”.

One of the playwork theories discussed was working on the ‘edge of chaos’, and we created a new song about it that you can see on video!

Overall the weekend was a heart-warming success and we all went away feeling proud to be part of Team PG and looking forward to a busy year of play. We would like to thank the High Sheriff’s Fund and Hugh Tollemache in particular for enabling us to give so many people an inspirational experience and a massive thanks for all that these young people give to Gloucestershire people and communities.

 Check out the photos below and video (coming soon).

by Pip Levett, Director of Play

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