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Awakening Nene White Water

We are always looking for new venues to visit when running our First aid courses. This journey is an exciting but often exasperating one. Finding somewhere to host a course which meets all our needs, that’s a challenge. We often need somewhere comfortable for clients as rugged as Sea kayakers as well as comfortable for the less hardy. Additionally to comfort we also need a venue that has good access to a great outdoor area with a wide variety of features to make scenarios interesting and engaging. The Nene offered this in abundance.

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In years gone by I had visited the Nene White Water centre in my earlier paddling days. Even then the course and facilities were showing their age and needed a huge overhaul. It was a shame to see such a great venue past its best. It saddened me a the time, despite the fun I enjoyed paddling the artificial course as a beginner.

Olympic changes

With the arrival of the course at Lee Valley in 2012, it seemed White Water had a new home in the South, overshadowing places like Cardington, Nene and HPP.

It was purely by chance in recent years I was looking again for venues to host first aid training courses in the Midlands that the Nene really sprung up once again. I was taken back by the news of its new rebrand and refurbishment.

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The new owners have really tried their upmost to bring the centre back to its former glory. The centre is in the middle of a complete overhaul looking to attract a wider range of clients that may have overlooked this iconic and exciting venue.

New and renewed

For us it has proved to be an amazing venue to host ITC Outdoor First Aid courses. The refurbishments to the conference room and Cafe have allowed us to deliver our courses in a professional and comfortable location while enjoying the benefits of a varied location for outdoor scenarios. It also presents the opportunity to broaden the range of courses we can deliver in the Midlands.

So, if you are looking for an ideal venue to host a conference, CPD or training course, the Nene Active Whitewater Centre could be just the place for you!

If you are interested in joining one of our Outdoor first aid courses at the Nene, or if you would like more information on other products that we offer, please feel free to contact us! Admin@trainwithsumit.com

Get outside – a one day affair?

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So, today isnational get outside day. A day designed to encourage parents and carers to take their kids out of doors and enjoy the natural environment. As a concept it’s a wonderful idea, but does it just have to happen once a year? Certain
ly not! The question is how can we as advocates of the great outdoors capture the attention of those who don’t share our passion and encourage them to get out and do!

 

There are huge amounts of research at the moment showing children spend far too much time indoors, especially in urban or inner city areas. The draw of PlayStation and Xboxes – one of the most common household entertainment items – is difficult to contend with. Why go out and create your own fun when predesigned, nearly packaged fun already exists at the flick of a switch.

Now I’m not going to do the traditional “in my day we didn’t have X stations and Playboxes” rant, in fact for my generation, Consoles and computers were the newest thing. Not everyone had one, but everyone wanted one. I would go to my friends house, just to play his Nintendo as my parents wouldn’t buy one mostly because of the belief it was the last thing I needed, so I was bought a Commodore Amiga- under the guise it had a keyboard so I could use it to do work.

IMG_2369However as I got older, we as a family joined the technological age. Despite my avid love of the outdoors I was hooked on computers, and I still am to some extent. I suppose the difference is, I found it easy to step away and focus one something else; most of the time.

As the game industry evolves, they are becoming more adept at creating content that hooks adults and children alike. A quick look at the recently published and highly popular “Fortnite” franchise and you can see the use of colour, cartoonesque worlds, humour, mild violence and swanky dance moves. All of these appeal to children along with the competitive nature of the game an it’s multiple levels. It’s no wonder it’s so popular.

The game is a work of genius. A multi platform experience all wrapped up in an active virtual world they can log in and out of. Users can create their own versions of themselves and from behind a screen live a fantasy. Sold as “free” it’s widely downloaded but making huge amounts of revenue from paid content within the game for upgrades and passes. Someone up top is making a huge amount of money.

So what does this mean for our industry? Well it could be the death knell or it could be an inspiration. Events like #nationalgetoutsideday in my opinion are poorly thought out; not that I am knocking the effort, not at all, however throwing out a small campaign encouraging parents to get outdoors with kids on a Sunday, as the weather gets colder, is going to present a challenge, especially to those who don’t live near a park, forest, moor or mountain. And I would hazard a guess Sunday’s are one of the few days working parents get to lie in and are happy to let their children play consoles until lunch time, if not the whole day while they get on with washing, cleaning and chores.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea, but it’s reach is limited to those who are already keen to advocate the outdoors, what is needed is a far greater push to draw on those more likely to venture into the virtual rather than the vital. This requires presenting an alternative – activities coordinated around the country to encourage participation in something new. Soft archery in the park, climbing in the car park etc. We need an incentive to encourage parents and children to get out of their urban routine and come to see what the fuss is all about – maybe then they will be happy to lay down the PlayStation and take in the outdoors?

Learning the Basics – Is Basic First Aid training relevant?

First aid is a skill that is often publicly associated with the workplace volunteer that takes a dim view of people using too many plasters from the office first aid kit – or equally boring hours sitting in front of powerpoint presentations, carefully sculpted slide transitions and Youtube clips of rescues and efficient CPR. The moment the line manager asks for a volunteer, either the same person throws their hand up, or everyone scuttles so as not to make eye contact.

First aid is a bit of a dark topic, especially in the workplace. It is always difficult to change this paradigm. However, the role of the first aider is not one that needs to be daunting or overly professional.  Basic First Aid skills save lives and thats what counts.

When it comes down to saving lives, the worst can happen at any time. Having some basic skills to preserve life when it is needed can be the most helpful.

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First aid is a practical skill and at Summit we treat it as that – something that needs practice and refinement through doing. Powerpoint presentations on our courses are few and designed to guide, but the overwhelming thrust of our first aid training is practical.

When you make training practical, especially when those skills need to be remembered in a time of stress, practice makes permanent. When it comes to that moment when a person becomes a causality and you come to that realisation that you are the one that needs to step in – having some well practiced skills is important.

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We offer 4 hour Basic life saving courses to allow our clients the opportunity to sharpen the emergency skills they have learned and for new clients, add to their knowledge of first aid to make them capable of managing difficult situations in any and every environment.

 

Are you interested in finding out more about first aid training with Summit? Contact us
to find out what we can do for you.

AED’s – What are they and why should I know?

Hospitals, Police stations, Railway and tube stations, gyms, schools, libraries, the list is endless. In an emergency, you will be told to find an AED in these places. But what is an AED when it is at home and why should I know what to do with one?

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An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the rhythm of the heart and can send a shock to try to restore a normal heart rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). This is a condition whereby the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating normally meaning blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital tissues. The result is death if not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute an AED is delayed leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using a defibrillator on a person who is having a sudden cardiac arrest may save the person’s life.

Using it correctly

SCA present in many ways. The two most common being Ventricular Fibrillation (V-Fib) or Ventricular Tachycardia. The application of an AED in conjunction with efficient CPR can help regulate heart rhythm and restore a hearts ability to continue unaided until help arrives.

The deployment of an AED is often the one thing that saves a life. With large numbers of people in the UK suffering from SCA they have become a popular lifesaving measure that is important in both urban and rural areas. There have been concerted local campaigns to introduce these across the UK.

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A rescuer does not have to be formally trained to use an AED. The machine gives clear guidance on how to use it, however when coupled with efficient life saving CPR learned on a simple first aid course can allow more efficiency in the deployment of the device and a greater chance to restore the hearts natural rhythm and the casualties quality of life.

Some AED’s come with both Adult and Child pads and some can be set to suit the age of the casualty. Many locally available AED’s have the ability to record incident details including the number of shocks and any rhythms traced, but this is not always retrievable straight after the incident.

Local access? Public access?

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If you have an AED local to you, it may be important to familiarise yourself with its location and the protocols around getting it in an emergency. For instance who to call for unlocking codes. Some are accessed in a centre and can only be accessed at certain times – often a person will accompany the AED to assist if required.

Important things to note with an AED is to be aware that they have service intervals and can be subject to service failure as well as possible vandalism. Even though you may fetch an AED quickly, it may not function, may have technical issues or may have been stolen or vandalised. In this case it may be vital that a rescuer has the skills to perform CPR while waiting for professionals to arrive. Perhaps the attendance of basic first aid training might make the difference in these eventualities.

Interested in basic first aid training or AED skills? Contact us for details of our local courses on how to use and AED and how to perform life saving CPR. More information about SCA can be found at British Heart Foundation.

Getting to grips with trauma first aid

Our first Level 3 Outdoor First Aid course of the year was a booming success at Chigwell Row Guide Camp. Lead by our highly experienced trainer, Denis the group of experienced leaders learned basic life saving skills and got to grips with some of the finer skills taught in the Outdoor First aid course in the cold, unforgiving forests surrounding Chigwell row Camp site.

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The course looked at aspects of trauma in the outdoors, specifically as the Guide leaders manage a growing number of children in dangerous and unpredictable outdoor environments – made especially tricky with the growing number of children with allergies and medical conditions. These aspects can make outdoor first aid a challenge.

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Our Outdoor first Aid courses are designed to be adaptable to the needs of groups or organisations. We can add in details about specific conditions that may affect our clients in their environment and we try to tailor our delivery to suit all of out candidates. The course is an in-depth look at the difficulties that may occur in the outdoors, the special challenges that the outdoor environment brings to first aid and gives a stepwise approach to dealing with and managing trauma in the outdoor environment,

Chigwell Row First Aid trainingNeedless to say, all candidates showed their resilience to the cold (a good skill to have as a Girl Guide leader) and got stuck into the tricky first aid scenarios set up by Denis. Jammy Dodgers were provided to brighten the frozen spirits of the candidates. Well done to all those who attended and passed!

Do you have a group of Scout or Guide leaders that require Outdoor First Aid training? Our experienced trainers come to you and can host in any location. Our courses demonstrate practical approaches to OFA learning and focus on giving candidates real world experience of dealing with trauma in unfamiliar settings. Contact us for more details!

Twinkle Twinkle…

Up

Step out of your doorway and look up.

What can you see?

If you are lucky enough to live in the country you could probably claim to see quite a lot, provided it’s not raining or cloudy. However, if you live near a large town or city, looking up can be quite difficult due to the over abundance of orange light emanating from streetlights – often called ‘Light Pollution.’

I recently took a group of wild runners on a night run through the depths of Hampstead Heath woods in London, UK. We stopped for a short time to overlook London in its glittering glory and I attempted to spot and show off a collection of constellations in the sky above, but due to the light from the city below, very little could be seen clearly. It’s a far cry from the deep clear night skies you get further out in the unlit countryside.

Now I am not saying it’s pointless to star gaze in cities; far from it! I am saying that it is much easier and much more dazzling when you journey a little further out. When I have gone to forests or view points further out, such as the Dunstable Downs or Epping forest there is much more to see. Taking a trip further afield can be time consuming although it may just be that much more dazzling and certainly more memorable for everyone.

Looking deeper

​Telescopes and view finders can make it more fun, especially with large low moons or when planets and asteroids are closer, but you do not need to go searching for the best deal on telescopes and optics to have a great time star gazing.

You can find easy, printable information about what’s in the sky above from many sources. One great source is from Northern Ireland’s own Armagh Planetarium. They have produced a wonderful downloadable PDF Star map to help you work out which stars are above you at a particular time of year!

However, if you are mad on gadgets then there are plenty of ways to trigger your interest using your phone or tablet.

SkyView Free is a great free app that allows users an augmented reality experiences. You can point the tablet or phone at the sky and correlate what you can see to their correct names and other information about them. It can be a great companion for teaching children about the stars.

Sky Chart is another great AR app that allows you to see the sky real time, even without the darkness. It also shows constellations along side drawings and figures from mythology that contributed to their names. Another great tool for helping you teach your children about ancient history as well as science!

The experience can be so memorable and inspiring for children. It is a great way to bond and to foster a real interest in the Sciences, Mythology and story telling! Your job as a parent is to get them the experiences and create the spark for a desire to know more!

Looking to the sea

14192662-10153654993967167-3081242601538436342-n_1The sea. It’s beautiful, wild and ever changing. One of the largest forces of nature.

A great place to start any conversation with your children about the complications of our world. It’s mystical beauty is something that mesmerizes us, yet at the same time, it terrifies us.

As you can see, CJ has been playing at the beach from an early age. Being raised on the North East coast of Ireland, the sea and the shore have played a massive part of evolving my life and I love passing that love and enthusiasm onto him.

At home we have a sand pit that we love getting him into. He loves the sensory feedback of his hands and face on the sand as well as scooping it out onto the patio for us to sweep up! But there is nothing better than getting him out onto the shore; shoes and socks off and playing in the sand and surf.

Even at only 13 months he got a lot out of playing at the beach, all year round. Now he is older we go and gather things: drift wood, stones, pebbles and shells.  We arrange them in many fun ways.

I have one great activity to do on a cold day at the beach. (Any day will do, but its much more fun when its chilly!)

On your feet kids!

One of the single most interesting activities that a family can undertake together, even better when its in nature and away from the hustle and bustle of life and uninterrupted by technology.

Most communities have identified National Parks with way marked walks of different distances that are great for families. Some are local and some obviously need some planning to get to. Whether you live inner city or in a rural town, there will always be something to walk.

There are many ways to find places to walk. Local councils and wild life trusts have maps and websites to explore their routes and there are an abundance of apps for navigation one of which being View Ranger. (www.viewranger.com) Their maps show walking paths in standard maps, however certain regions require users to pay for more detailed maps. You can use this app to plan routes or find locally recommended and popular routes. It is a great way of easily planning to take everyone out.

Walks require a little bit of planning and a little bit of bossiness. It is essential everyone has the right footwear and clothing, has a suitable rain jacket/ windbreaker for the conditions.  Clothing is fairly reasonable if you look about. There is  no need for the latest North Face jacket or Rab technical trousers. There are plenty of budget outdoor shops selling the likes of North Ridge, Regatta and Craghoppers that will easily handle a days walking and last for many years.

There also needs to be consideration for snacks and refreshments. Simple bags of crisps, granola bars and bottles of water will do, however it is much more fun to make some snacks as a family before.

Thought also needs to be given to the ability of the group and matching this to the route and distance of your planned walk. Often it is a good idea to start off with smaller distances and build to epic walks that take all day. It saves on ear ache from tired teens and blister patches for those who are not yet used to their walking shoes.

You can combine your walking experience with other activities, picnicking, scavenger hunts, shelter building or camping out to make the adventure more amazing!

Nurture your nature

Why nature? Why outside?
It’s much more comfortable inside where it is warm and comfortable and above all, clean! No cleaning mucky boots, no drying rain soaked jackets, no scrubbing dirty hands and above all, no dirty footprints in my house! Plus it’s dangerous out there. Trips, falls, nettles, stings and bugs. Nope, we’re staying inside!

Sounds much better doesn’t it? Much more interesting and much more safe? However, take a look at your children. Look at their faces. Do they look happy and content? Itching to jump from sofa to sofa. Desperately trying to stay awake while watching another dire “Peppa Pig” episode. Positively catatonic staring at another battlefield in Call of Duty.

Recent RSPB research indicates that about 4 out of every 5 children in the UK are “not connected to Nature.” (The guardian, October 2013) To me this is pretty terrifying!

As these children grows up and form into adults they will grow with less of an appreciation of nature and more of a disregard towards preserving it. These adults potentially foster the same disregard in their own children and thus the cycle begins again.

Now this view is pretty wide and totally hypothetical, but the inkling that 80% of young people do not have a desire to be outside in nature, apart from the odd kick about in the park can only lead us to the conclusion that nature is becoming less important to your young people.

​Nurturing nature is something that has become important and in my opinion should be a key aspect of raising children in the modern world. With evidence pointing towards the irreparable damage being caused to the planet placed at the feet of past indiscretions in living and industry coupled with a careless human regard for protecting what we have left, it is important that we encourage our children to engage positively with the planet and learn to respect it, mould it and conserve it with vigour.

We must teach them to care much more than we have. It may not be their fault, but it is our legacy we leave and we must apologies to them and the planet by teaching them to love it more than we ever did.

“I see children, all children, as humanity’s most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left.“ Alice Walker