Adventure sports course is coming to the end. During this autumn we have learned a lot of new and important skills. We have had many lessons for example about instructor skills, orienteering and goals of adventure education. We have learned about hiking skills, kayaking and climbing.
On our first week it was already time to shine. “Kayak lessons” we read in our timetables. But to our surprise we started in the swimming pool. Wet exits sounded exactly like what they turned out to be. There we went, 18 fresh Adventure Sports students, going underwater in the swimming pool. We did it and that meant we could do the real work: kayaking! The first moments on the water were difficult for some but definitely a lot of fun for everybody! We learned a lot about different paddling and steering techniques and luckily nobody fell in the water. Well.. until Friday then, when we had to do the real wet exits in the lake. A cold but interesting experience!
Adventure Sports in National parks
We started our experience in the national park Pallas Yllästunturi, in the north of Finland. 4 days walking across the park, sleeping in a hut on the first and the last night, and in a tent the second night, with bad weather. The trip was nice and a great experience, because we have learned a lot of things, for example, how to use an axe and a knife to make fire and also how to shit in the woods. We enjoyed the trip but have had some stressful moments.
After one week we had another chance to improve our survival skills, this time in Nuuksio National park, without tutors, in little groups between 3 and 6 people. Sleeping in temperatures of -5 and -7 degrees, according to that we had to improvise our form of sleeping this two nights, some groups have slept around the camping fire to keep warm, others in the tent with all their clothes on. It was also an experience that we will never forget.
Our experience with climbing in Finland can be summary in two parts: high rope and low rope.
We have been in Salmisaari, in Helsinki, at the biggest climbing gym of the whole Scandinavia and it was the paradise of climbing. There we had a basic lesson with Eeva and Kai, our lecturers, about climbing with rope where we learned a lot of safety and we also enjoyed a lot on the wall and we got really, really tired.
After this we changed the style and we were in the boulder place where we had about one and a half hour as free time there.
The other part of climbing is low rope. Here we learned a lot about how to set up slack lines, how to make lots of knots and to be creative using the nature(trees), ropes, boxes… And we used this to apply it in the project “Schools on the move” which was really successful enjoying the time and the activities with kids of the finish school. For most of us, it was the first time to climb and we had the opportunity to discover another style of adventure sport.
During this whole course, we have had an exercise, independent training. Independent training has been a big part of the course. We have done independent hiking trips, independent climbing, kayaking and other new “exotic” sports. During this course we have marked our independent training to the logbook. The idea is that at the end of the course, there will be at least sixty hours training. We have had the opportunity to borrow all needed equipment from our school storage. It’s been very important part of the independent training. That makes us feel trustworthy.
The schools on move project was a really good experience for all of us, not only because we learned a lot, also because we could improve our skills in leading, instructing and making projects with all the needed parts (project plan, lesson plan, risk management and risk analysis, time tables), we also had really good team work, everybody helped each other and all of us cooperated and worked together to succeed and achieve the goals. In this project exist different roles that we could play or observe (leader, instructor, coordinator, observer). It was also an opportunity to practice all of our knowledge with a real public, and also challenging ourselves.
The last adventure sports trip will be the winter trip to Ruka, where we will learn and work on our snowboard- and skiing skills and of course visit the famous Finnish husky farms. After this the exchange students will fly back home and our adventure in Finland will be over. We enjoyed our stay and had a great time in Kiljava, meeting a lot new interesting people and experiencing the real Finnish lifestyle!
Julia Uusikari, Marga Rigo Portell, Lara Veldkamp, Martí Vinyoles Busquets, Enric Garcia
Photos: Sini Lahti