From risk management to risk benefit
A recent report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood concluded that children who have the opportunity to assess and deal with risks can learn important life skills and experience for the real world.
“Children should learn to make their own risk assessments and manage their own limitations as they grow and develop, to ensure that they continue to push their own boundaries.”
The report also concludes that policy-makers and people working with children use the term ‘benefit-risk assessment’ rather than simply ‘risk assessment ’ to promote a rational evaluation of activities and situations. It is an important change in approach that will highlight the many positive outcomes from being exposed to risk.
This chimes with our philosophy at Wilderness Expertise, where students take ownership of their expedition from the very start, planning their itinerary and then ultimately taking it in turns to lead each day. This can include making mistakes, but their Wilderness Expertise Expedition Leader will be watching carefully from the sidelines, stepping in only when necessary. Regular team reviews facilitated by the Leader will allow students to reflect and learn.
A student returning from a personal development expedition to Nicaragua in 2015 has summarised his experience:
“Our pre-departure training was really useful in preparing us for the expedition. I thought it was really good how we planned our own expedition and I really enjoyed putting together the itinerary. The UK training also prepared me really well for the trekking aspect of expedition as it gave me experience in carrying a rucksack and using different equipment. Our expedition leader was fantastic. He always encouraged us to be independent in our organisation and decision-making, but he would also help us if needed. The expedition itself was amazing. I got to experience so many new things that I may never do again. Helping a local community in our project was really special and climbing volcanoes was really exciting. I learned so many things about organising future endeavours and looking after myself, which will be really valuable in the future. Also, I think the challenges I faced on the trip have made me a stronger person and being on an expedition has made me more independent and confident at home.”