Disability and bushcraft.

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Woody girl

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Seeing as the thread about diversity in bushcraft has been closed down due to someone making remarks not relevant and political biased, I thought I would start a new thread on this subject in particular, and hope that it will not incur the same silly comments and get closed down.
Strict rule on this thread....NO POLITICAL COMMENTS PLEASE.
So, to continue,
Has anybody got any physical disabilities that prevent them from doing all they might wish bushcraftwise in whatever context?

How do you try and overcome it?

Have you ever been met with any negative opinions, such as why do you do it if it hurts so much? Been left out of anything, as others might see you as "not up to it"?

Has anyone tried to have a policy with anyone who might want to do something that they would happily tailor the activity so that someone of lesser ability might join in .

We do it for children, why not disabled people?

Just a few questions I was hoping to get answers to on the closed down thread. What are your opinions, and what can we all do to make it inclusive to all and everyone.
 
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Woody girl

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In answer to tee dee, on the other thread.
The young instructor was very good and we had a long discussion about what it was going to be like on the course and he felt that I might not be able to do all the walking involved, which might or might not have been true, untill I got there and tried, nobody could tell, but it was obvious that they were not realy interested in having someone along who might hold them up. I can see their point, but was disappointed that they were not willing to accommodate me . I don't blame the lad, he is young and fit, and saw me as a much older person with a few problems, that might make things difficult for the fitter members of the group.
The other one I was talking about, happened a few years ago, I was asked if I went to the top. Yes I did, only to receive more bias and rudeness.
 
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Broch

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I understand where you are coming from and appreciate your frustration, but I have experienced it from the other side. I paid for a course that was supposed to include walking through as many habitats as we could over the three days to forage the species that the habitats supported (think woodland, meadow, hillside, coast etc.).

One person turned up that was clearly unsuitable for the course and, after berating the instructor for not accommodating people with health/fitness problems, limited us all to only a few km a day. The course description clearly said 'reasonable levels of fitness are required'. The problem is they are not allowed to say 'people with fitness or mobility difficulty will not be able to do the course'. I was in half a mind to ask for my money back (which was not a trivial amount) but that did not seem fair to the poor instructor who was trying hard not to upset anyone.

It has to work both ways and people that will restrict the activity of a course for the others should not be selfish and insist on participating. I appreciate that will be a comment that will be derided. I am sure many foraging and wilderness skills schools would be happy to organise inclusive activities for special groups (subject to location, insurance and clearance etc.). I could not for example, because the land I teach on is steep and difficult. To go to the loo from the camp area one has to walk 30m down a 30 degree slope (coming back up is the killer even for me).
 

Wildgoose

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This is a thread I will be watching with interest.
All instructor/teaching courses should now include inputs on inclusivity and differentiation. it’s been about for a few years now.

I instruct enhanced first aid and have guested on a couple of outdoors bushcraft courses. The attitude of the instructors often mirror the target audience of the course.
The first I did was very gun ho. With the instructors wanting high pressure scenario based training with the students dealing with gun shot and blast injuries, not very bushcraft to me. They were very much of the “x student isn’t fit for purpose” attitude. I haven’t been back to them.

The second is much more sedate and I’ve had some severely physically and mentally disabled people on the course. Everyone leaves having done SOMETHING, even if it’s not the full syllabus.

I send out a pre course questionnaire, asking about prior knowledge, interests and any disability do I can make reasonable adjustments. It’s really not hard to do in most set ups.
 

Woody girl

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I understand where you are coming from and appreciate your frustration, but I have experienced it from the other side. I paid for a course that was supposed to include walking through as many habitats as we could over the three days to forage the species that the habitats supported (think woodland, meadow, hillside, coast etc.).

One person turned up that was clearly unsuitable for the course and, after berating the instructor for not accommodating people with health/fitness problems, limited us all to only a few km a day. The course description clearly said 'reasonable levels of fitness are required'. The problem is they are not allowed to say 'people with fitness or mobility difficulty will not be able to do the course'. I was in half a mind to ask for my money back (which was not a trivial amount) but that did not seem fair to the poor instructor who was trying hard not to upset anyone.

It has to work both ways and people that will restrict the activity of a course for the others should not be selfish and insist on participating. I appreciate that will be a comment that will be derided. I am sure many foraging and wilderness skills schools would be happy to organise inclusive activities for special groups (subject to location, insurance and clearance etc.). I could not for example, because the land I teach on is steep and difficult. To go to the loo from the camp area one has to walk 30m down a 30 degree slope (coming back up is the killer even for me).
I understand that, which is why I did not push to go on the course with the young lad instructor. We had a very reasonable conversation and as I said, I could see his point of view and respected it.
It doesn't always go the other way though.
I suggest you Google bushcraft for disabled adults and see what you get. I think you will very soon understand where I'm comming from.
If you are a wheelchair bound kid, there is a few places (calvert Trust for instance) that cater for adventure holidays and bushcraft " experiences". But there is Absolutly nothing as far as I'm able to discern for adults. I'm not wheelchair bound, I manage daily tasks mostly fine, I can was and dress myself and I don't have any outward sign(apart from a few wobbles and falls now and then if I don't have my stick, so unless I phone the school and ask ...something able bodied don't have to do, I have to make a call myself on whether I'm going to be the annoying person everyone gets ****** off with not being so fast as everyone else, suffering the displeasure and hostility that obviosly produces. You said it yourself Broch. This is exactly the problem I am trying to raise awareness and tolerance of.
 

Woody girl

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This is a thread I will be watching with interest.
All instructor/teaching courses should now include inputs on inclusivity and differentiation. it’s been about for a few years now.

I instruct enhanced first aid and have guested on a couple of outdoors bushcraft courses. The attitude of the instructors often mirror the target audience of the course.
The first I did was very gun ho. With the instructors wanting high pressure scenario based training with the students dealing with gun shot and blast injuries, not very bushcraft to me. They were very much of the “x student isn’t fit for purpose” attitude. I haven’t been back to them.

The second is much more sedate and I’ve had some severely physically and mentally disabled people on the course. Everyone leaves having done SOMETHING, even if it’s not the full syllabus.

I send out a pre course questionnaire, asking about prior knowledge, interests and any disability do I can make reasonable adjustments. It’s really not hard to do in most set ups.

Well done mate. That's truly inclusive!
 

Wander

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An interesting topic this, not least because there are many different disabilities and some are more challenging to overcome in a bushcraft setting than others.
As highlighted above, mobility issues could be a barrier to some activities. For many that sense of 'wildness' (whether real or imagined) is an important component to getting out. Not sure I really like the idea of running 'disability only' events, because that seems too divisive. But at the same time, for some to get the most out of an activity, it may preclude those with mobility issues.
The good news is that bushcraft comprises a lot of activities, most of which are not limited by disabilities.
Not sure I have any answers at this point. I worry there may not be answers to some issues or, at least, not realistic answers anyway.
I shall read with interest, especially from those who have faced such obstacles and those who have worked with disabilities to help overcome them.
 
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Wildgoose

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I understand that, which is why I did not push to go on the course with the young lad instructor. We had a very reasonable conversation and as I said, I could see his point of view and respected it.
It doesn't always go the other way though.
I suggest you Google bushcraft for disabled adults and see what you get. I think you will very soon understand where I'm comming from.
If you are a wheelchair bound kid, there is a few places (calvert Trust for instance) that cater for adventure holidays and bushcraft " experiences". But there is Absolutly nothing as far as I'm able to discern for adults. I'm not wheelchair bound, I manage daily tasks mostly fine, I can was and dress myself and I don't have any outward sign(apart from a few wobbles and falls now and then if I don't have my stick, so unless I phone the school and ask ...something able bodied don't have to do, I have to make a call myself on whether I'm going to be the annoying person everyone gets ****** off with not being so fast as everyone else, suffering the displeasure and hostility that obviosly produces. You said it yourself Broch. This is exactly the problem I am trying to raise awareness and tolerance of.
Fair play to you for contacting the school first, maybe you shouldn’t have to, but it does give the instructor a bit of thinking time to make adjustments.
I do often laugh at course prerequisites, “must be able to swim 200m, fully clothed, naked, at night” makes me wonder who’s paying who for the experience!
 

Woody girl

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I agree that disability only events are not the way to go. That is divisive in itself, and I want to be included. Not marginalised.
Perhaps... and this may be a contentios thought... is the general "macho" image of bushcrafting.
I follow several women bushcrafters on you tube, and they are all great, fit, pretty younger women. They have a huge male following, much of it rather uncomfortable at times.
So, if you are young and/or pretty, much is forgiven and accommodated. And they are given much more encouragement than I would ever have in both real life, or on yt.! The macho attitude does shine through in a lot of the comments though.
That aside, I'm sure if they were young pretty and disabled they would be getting a lot of encouragement. All I seem to get, as a not so young and nuble person is, I don't think this is for you.
I had an idea to set up a school for mixed abilities, but I can't get the training to qualify as an instructor, as it is deemed I won't be able to do it.
Catch 22!
 
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Woody girl

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An interesting topic this, not least because there are many different disabilities and some are more challenging to overcome in a bushcraft setting than others.
As highlighted above, mobility issues could be a barrier to some activities. For many that sense of 'wildness' (whether real or imagined) is an important component to getting out. Not sure I really like the idea of running 'disability only' events, because that seems too divisive. But at the same time, for some to get the most out of an activity, it may preclude those with mobility issues.
The good news is that bushcraft comprises a lot of activities, most of which are not limited by disabilities.
Not sure I have any answers at this point. I worry there may not be answers to some issues or, at least, not realistic answers anyway.
I shall read with interest, especially from those who have faced such obstacles and those who have worked with disabilities to help overcome them.

But who has the right to decide what the barrier is? Me or someone else who has not met me?
 

Wildgoose

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There does seem to be a bit of mission creep in bushcraft lately with more of a survivalist attitude creeping in.
that’s why I like good old Ray, he was undoubtedly fit but had an achievable body shape even for me
 
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TeeDee

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But who has the right to decide what the barrier is? Me or someone else who has not met me?

I'd imagine the person being expected to undertake and reduce the possible mitigation of risk to the school/host provider and the other students.

The person being ultimately accountable for the wellbeing , safety and enjoyment of everyone on the course.

( Yes, its an unfair world )
 
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TeeDee

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There does seem to be a bit of mission creep in bushcraft lately with more of a survivalist attitude creeping in.
that’s why I like good old Ray, he was undoubtedly fit but had an achievable body shape even for me

Really??

Can you expand on that please? or give me an example or two of what you mean?

I've seen a lot more courses NOW than 10 years ago for such activities as spoon/kuska carving, willow working , Hide tanning etc than I remember 15+ years ago when all the ex-Regiment military types were running very macho courses.
 

ONE

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From the POV of the course runner, it can be very difficult to get third party liability cover at the best of times and sometimes the policies can have really cleverly worded clauses that put the onus of responsibility on the instructor.
 
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Woody girl

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I'd imagine the person being expected to undertake and reduce the possible mitigation of risk to the school/host provider and the other students.

The person being ultimately accountable for the wellbeing , safety and enjoyment of everyone on the course.

( Yes, its an unfair world )

It doesn't have to be an unfair world.
A lot of schools are teaching a lot of things over a weekend spending only an hour or so on any particular skill, and seem quite proud of their high pressure teaching.
A more relaxed attitude and slower pace would include many more people who let's face it, all have different learning styles and outcomes.
I prefer a relaxed attitude, but then I guess the average customer has to feel they are getting value for the high prices charged, and everything crammed into a couple of days.
Seems it mostly comes down to money and liability. A more high pressure weekend obviosly has higher pressure, therefore more opportunity for mishaps to occur, or people not being able to keep up with the more able members of the group.
I think the attitude that if you can't keep up you can't do it , so go away, is wrong. Where would our kids be if normal schools worked like that?
 
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Woody girl

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From the POV of the course runner, it can be very difficult to get third party liability cover at the best of times and sometimes the policies can have really cleverly worded clauses that put the onus of responsibility on the instructor.

The calvert Trust manages to have thousands of disabled kids through its doors every year, abseiling canoeing, sailng etc so that's just a bit of a get out clause in my opinion. But I'm sure someone will tell me, (someone who trained as an outdoor pursuits instructor) that I'm wrong!
 

Wildgoose

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Really??

Can you expand on that please? or give me an example or two of what you mean?

I've seen a lot more courses NOW than 10 years ago for such activities as spoon/kuska carving, willow working , Hide tanning etc than I remember 15+ years ago when all the ex-Regiment military types were running very macho courses.

The public image for one, with certain adventurers promoting a high octane extreme image, like Bear Grylls.

The use of Molle and Velcro patches on clothing/kit for second,
 

Tengu

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Ive never been on a course, couldn't afford it, and if I has the money would do something else.

The most adventurous person I ever knew started when they were 55.... had a very deep pocket, I will say, deep enough to fund whatever adventure fantasies their overactive imagination might cook up.
 

ONE

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The calvert Trust manages to have thousands of disabled kids through its doors every year, abseiling canoeing, sailng etc so that's just a bit of a get out clause in my opinion. But I'm sure someone will tell me, (someone who trained as an outdoor pursuits instructor) that I'm wrong!
I wouldn't/couldn't tell you you're wrong. But the Calvert Trust is a registered charity. No profit motive.
 

Broch

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Not to trivialise physical/mental/health disabilities, but old-age is a disability. It happens to all of us, think hard on this if you're reading this thread and think it doesn't apply to you. I cannot do half the things I used to do in my thirties so I wouldn't dream of joining a course that I know includes physical activity without first checking with the course provider what is required.

I would hate to attend courses that only include OAPs (I'm only old when I look in a mirror or have to stand up), but I would also dread spoiling a course for younger/fitter people because of my limited fitness.

There are quite a few bushcraft schools offering disabled children courses and, as Teedee has said, there are loads of bushcraft related courses that are open to all and even the odd one that caters for adults - the Calvert Trust that Woody girl mentions also does adult courses.

And, as far as course price goes, I don't see any bushcraft school owners (with notable TV personality exceptions) running around in expensive cars etc. I don't think the prices are necessarily high compared with other training activities.

And, to raise that dreadful subject, most of the training organisations are small businesses (very small in some cases) - they have to make profit or they can't feed their children. Anything that reduces their meagre profit margins may result in business failure.
 
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