Today was the first day of piloting a new programme that has taken months to create, plan and devise. We were pretty apprehensive about how it would go and unsure of whether it could work. We’d had the vision a long time ago but it was only recently that we were given the chance to give it go. That’s all you need sometimes isn’t it? The chance to take what you think is a great idea and turn it into something tangible and real.

Forest Found is totally committed to facilitating outdoor learning experiences that have a long term impact on the learners that take part and are passionate about getting stuck in with tackling and unpacking some of the challenges that young people face. We all know the stats about the rise in mental health issues in teenagers, there is no blanket cure or easy solution. We don’t profess to have the answers but we do know about the undeniable power of spending time in the natural world. Breathing deep and taking notice of the world around us. But we haven’t just created a mindfulness course or eco-therapy programme, both of which may indeed help people in some way.

‘Rooted’ is all about combining the life-giving resources offered by the outdoor environment and the deep therapeutic practice of CBT and other counselling pedagogy to support and equip young girls in their attempts to become confident, resilient and emotionally intelligent people. It’s not a quick fix and it may not even achieve those aims but the deep need and desire for those kids today to have conversations and relationships with other adults that encourage them and build them up was palpable.

We’re not sure how the next 10 weeks are going to go but we know what we hope for and hearing the hopes of the girls today, our determination for them to hold on to those puts fire in our bellies. These girls are precious, beautiful, strong and valuable and have a right to be excited about what the future holds for them. The fight is on!