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Outdoor Adventure Academy latest

Want to know what our Outdoor Adventure Academy students get up to in the Forest of Dean and beyond?

Read on to find out the latest news and updates from the department...

Cross-college MTB Enduro

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The competing students before the big race.

In October 2014 the Outdoor Adventure Academy ran a MTB Enduro-style race at Cannop Cycle centre. 20 students from Gloucestershire College and Colog Gwent took part in the event, which lasted two hours and involved a series of timing and run-timing stages on a range of different tracks and trails, including forest tracks and natural singletrack.

Unlike during previous events the weather was on our side and all trails were dry, which made very exciting competitive times on the timed stages. Post event refreshments were provided by Pedal A Bike Away, and DIRT magazine donated prizes.

The event was a great opportunity for students to get involved in the competitive side of mountain biking in their local area. High placed GC students Ashley James, Matt Crocker and Conor Davis are now hoping to take part in larger similar events in the future representing the College. 


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The OAA students volunteering at Staunton Meend.

This winter the Outdoor Adventure Academy students continued to work on a volunteering project set up in conjunction with Staunton Parish Council.

Staunton Meend is an area of land which is being restored back to its former state as an 'acid heathland'. The project involves the removal of beech saplings in order to allow the area to return to its former state.

OAA students and staff gave up six mornings of their time to clear a large area of the land. The project allowed the students to get involved in an alternative activity linked to many other opportunities in the environmental regeneration sector.

Bird Boxes at RFD Campus

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A bird box made by the students.

A group of Level 3 Year 2 students undertook an environmental sustainability project, which saw them plan, build and install bird boxes within a small forestry block on the RFD campus.

Student Will Holmes said: “I really enjoyed this project as it was fantastically practical! I gained many new skills but also got to revisit the Design Technology woodwork skills I learnt at secondary school, which was very enjoyable. It will also be great to come back in future years and see if the boxes are being used”. 

Enrichment Leadership Programme

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OAA students preparing a canoe trip as part of their enrichment leadership programme.

Developing from past years, the Outdoor Adventure Academy delivered a programme of outdoor enrichment sessions in which students gained leadership and instructing experience, as part of the practical elements of their courses.

Clients came from many different academic areas across all campuses, including Early Years, Motor Vehicle, ESOL, Discover Opportunities and Art.

Over the four-week programme, the students had to plan, prepare equipment and lead activity sessions whilst being shadowed by a lecturer. This was a challenging but very rewarding and developmental experience for all involved. As well gaining assessment evidence for qualifications, it was a great opportunity for the clients to get involved in adventurous activities; learning new skills, gaining confidence and exploring the opportunities within the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley area.

We’d like to thank all lecturers and students involved. 

Foundation Studies Fun Activity Day

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The Foundation Studies Fun Activity Day.

In November 2014, a group of Level 3 Year 2 students ran a Fun Activity Day for Foundation Studies students at RFD campus.

The indoor event was fully planned, advertised and delivered by students in order to gain assessment evidence for Unit 23 – arranging a sports event.The day featured team building games, a cycling challenge course and ball sports.

Student Ellie-May Preest said: “The whole process was so much fun. We were given a huge amount of freedom in the planning process of the event and attended regular progress meetings with our lecturer.

"On the day of the event we had to think on our feet a little, as the weather wasn’t right for the event to be outdoors, but in a team effort we worked together and came up with alternative arrangements”.

A similar event will be run next year as part of the same unit.

Student Successes

Many of our students are progressing from their studies straight into exciting and rewarding careers.

Congratulations to:

Will Holmes, who is now the Assistant River Leader at PGL Segres, Ardeche River, France.

Emily Field, who is now an Instructor/Tribe Leader at the Bush Craft Company in Oxfordshire.

Matt Crocker, who is now an Assistant and Cycle Mechanic at Pedal A Bike Away in the Forest Of Dean.

Ellie-May Preest, who is now a Lifeguard at Whitemead Forest Park in the Forest of Dean.

Caine Sheppard, who is now a Multi-Activity Instructor at PGL.

We’d like to wish all of the above students the best of luck with their employment and development in the future!

For more information about the Outdoor Adventure Academy, and where the courses can take you in the future, watch GC The Movie, or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020.

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