Year five pupil Aaron Lang enjoys the event

Year five pupil Aaron Lang enjoys the event

A leading outdoors brand gave schoolchildren a taste of adventure as part of a Europe-wide scheme to encourage people into the countryside.

Berghaus teamed up with pupils from a school near its Sunderland headquarters for a snowy trek in a country park.

The event was a pilot for a project devised by the European Outdoor Group to encourage participation in outdoor activities.

A team from Berghaus led the wintry walk for 50 children from the George Washington Primary School at the Herrington Country Park as part of the #itsgreatoutthere campaign launched last year.

With help from local MP Sharon Hodgson, Berghaus made contacted the school, where headteacher Ailsa Taylor was keen for her pupils to try a new outdoor experience. The team from Berghaus created routes for groups to follow around the park and answer questions about different locations.

The activity was designed to give youngsters a chance to learn some of the basics about map reading and using a compass, while exploring the outdoors.

The European Outdoor Group is a trade organisation for major brands that operate across several countries in Europe, along with representative bodies from various nations. Many well known outdoor companies are members of the group.

Through the #itsgreatoutthere campaign, EOG members and other outdoor businesses said they are trying to inspire people to lead healthier lives, offering an alternative to more sedentary pursuits, and playing a positive role in combating the epidemic of inactivity that is threatening to overwhelm society.

The group heads to John's Rock in Herrington Country Park

The group heads to John's Rock in Herrington Country Park

In 2016, #itsgreatoutthere will focus on helping young people to access the outdoors. The Berghaus activity with George Washington Primary School was a pilot event that will provide a template for other companies to use as a guide later in the year.

Richard Leedham, Berghaus brand president and EOG board member, said: “#itsgreatoutthere is a really important campaign for our industry on many levels and at its heart, it is about participation.

“The theory is that once young people get a taste of the outdoors, they will want to return time and again and will be active for life. Judging by the enthusiasm of the children from George Washington Primary School, that theory is very sound. The youngsters were an absolute credit to their school and they all appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves.”

One year five pupil, Aaron Lang, said: “The park was absolutely amazing and the scenery was great. It was fun solving the questions. I would love to go again.”

Headteacher Ailsa Taylor said: “We were delighted to work with Berghaus on the #itsgreatoutthere pilot.

“The school is a great exponent of learning outdoors and has a forest school on site. Enabling the children to get out and about in the great outdoors gave them a fabulous opportunity to learn new skills, in an environment where they could actually use them.

“The children came back excited and motivated by what they had learnt.”

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson said: “With so many fantastic outdoor places to go and visit here in Sunderland and the wider North-East, it is great to see Berghaus engaging with local schools to help children experience the outdoors, learn important life skills and find a love for nature.

Pupils and Berghaus staff show their feelings

Pupils and Berghaus staff show their feelings

“As childhood obesity is becoming an ever-growing problem in our society, it is great that companies like Berghaus are doing more to encourage children to be fit and healthy and I look forward to seeing more schools get involved with #itsgreatoutthere later this year.”

Berghaus and the EOG presented photos and footage to the rest of the outdoor industry during the recent giant ISPO trade show in Munich. The EOG will now prepare a set of guidelines for outdoor companies to use when preparing their own #itsgreatoutthere events to run later in the year.

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