Learning through nature: the new diversity project fronted by The North Face

From mountain climbing in the Lake District to river rafting in North Wales, The North Face is enriching young people through the power of the great outdoors.

By The North Face
photographs by Richard Pencott
Published 4 Aug 2020, 16:46 BST
Girls from Sarah Bonnell School in east London headed to Cumbria for a weekend of outdoor challenges ...

Girls from Sarah Bonnell School in east London headed to Cumbria for a weekend of outdoor challenges including kayaking. 

Photograph by Richard Pencott

The North Face has been synonymous with the great outdoors for decades, helping adventurers from around the world tackle inscrutable challenges with its award-winning products and clothing range. Since 2010, the company has funded hundreds of non-profit organisations under themes of ‘Enabling Exploration’ and ‘Loving Wild Places’. 

Now, as part of The Explore Fund that’s being rolled out in the UK, Germany and Italy, The North Face has launched a new project making adventure accessible for everyone – especially children from underprivileged communities in urban areas.

The project is in partnership with The Outward Bound Trust, a charity dedicated to teaching children life lessons through nature. It gives opportunities to explore the wonders of the UK’s wilderness through confidence-boosting activities such as kayaking, hiking, rowing and orienteering – all in a bid to encourage equality and ignite a passion for the great outdoors. Both brands are passionate about adventure as a means of self-growth, and believe it should be for everyone, not just for those who can access or afford it.

This follows last year’s successful campaign, She Moves Mountains, where girls from Sarah Bonnell School in east London headed to Cumbria for a weekend of outdoor challenges.  

The North Face has partnered with The Outward Bound Trust — a charity dedicated to teaching children life lessons through nature.

Photograph by Richard Pencott

This year, around 35 students from City Academy in Hackney headed to North Wales for a resilience-testing few days. Here, we talk to three children and a teacher to find out what the experience meant for them.

Neesha Davis, aged 12: “This is a totally new experience for me. I’ve never done anything like hiking or canoeing. I really enjoyed making new friends and learning new things.” 
Favourite activity: Canoeing as well as walking up a mini waterfall. 

Stephanie Adusei, aged 12: “I love how different it is in Wales [compared] to home; how much space there is and the lack of buildings. I could definitely live here, but I’d miss being so close to Primark.” 
Favourite activity: Scrambling. 

Farrell Governor, aged 14: “I’ve been on the trip before, but I loved it so much that I applied to come back. I enjoy not having [electronic] devices and just being able to read and experience the outdoors.” 
Favourite activity: Camping.

Jack Day, physics teacher at City Academy: “It’s a great environment to spend time with your pupils. It amazes me to see how much effort the kids put into the trip, which is often the opposite of what we see in school! I personally love being outdoors as I’m originally from Yorkshire. The trip creates a shared cultural touchstone with the kids that we wouldn’t otherwise have and I use that back in the classroom. It’s also a leveller for me and the kids — we all have a go at the same activities and camp together.”

For more information on The North Face and Outward Bound Trust visit thenorthface.co.uk


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