Orienteering - Amanda Jones

I love the kit that comes with camping, but what do you do with this? Or this? And why do I get Christmas presents like this?! But I feel so comforted with just a couple of extras…..

I came to camping late in life but ten years on, I’m hooked.  Not quiet family holidays but big international youth camps.

But I feel like a fraud.  I haven’t got the first idea how to build a solar shower – but I know how to use one! So if I volunteer to co-ordinate a camp, really just delegating jobs to other more competent people, I can faff about with my clipboard and my lists and nobody will be any the wiser.

There’s only one part of my penknife I’ve ever used.

So as long as I don’t get asked to do a bushcraft workshop or take the kids out orienteering my secret will be safe.

And, and what the heck is orienteering anyway?!

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Busy, busy, busy!  After a few sessions helping out at my son’s Gwerin y Coed group, realized I loved working with young people and signed up to be a group leader – that was 12 years ago.  Apart from weekly sessions, the main focus is on camping and spending quality time with Mother Nature!  I was dreading my first camp – I’d NEVER been camping before – not even in my back garden!  No worries. I fell in love with outdoor life and the relaxed pace of life.  Despite a busy job as a Learning Support Assistant, caring for a family and trying to improve my mind with various courses, I still try to maintain the simple lifestyle of camp.

What’s your story about?

The attraction of all the miniature tools that are deemed necessary for a successful camp, I really don’t know what you’re supposed to do with half of it!  The lovely thing about campers though is their generosity and willingness to help a fellow stranded camper – despite my ignorance of knots and fire-building I’ve had some fantastic camping experiences.

Why did you choose this particular story?

I volunteer with Gwerin y Coed – The Woodcraft Folk in Wales and the opportunities the young people get are amazing and I wanted to share that with more people.  I had a vision of my story being like an advertisement for Gwerin but it just didn’t feel right.  During the session with our tutor I delved into my box of camping gadgets to give an idea of the photographs I would be taking.  It was a bit of a comedy moment…..

 “Oooh, what’s that for, Amanda?”

“How do you use that?”

“Where did you get that from?!”

All questions met with a shrug and “Haven’t a clue.”  I could see that I was deluding myself, “Have kit: can camp.”  Not!

So not so much a glowing advert for Gwerin, but I’m sure there are many campers and youth leaders out there who can relate to my story!

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?

I thought I would feel very self conscious about sharing stories with others, but we  had so many things in common it was easy to relax and enjoy the process.  I had a real sense of achievement, both in using the technology and feeling that I had finally done something creative and meaningful just for me.  I keep promising to find time to do another story!

  • Aberystwyth University
  • Arts Council of Wales
  • Welsh Government
  • National Lottery
  • Ceredigion County Coucil

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