Worried that your kids will spend most of the Easter break stuck in front of the TV or a games console? Want to help them discover their sense of adventure (and rediscover yours?) Well FAF knows somewhere that’s bound to get the whole family’s heart racing…
You might have already heard of Go Ape. There are 27 of these high-wire forest adventure courses around the country, which involve climbing rope ladders, traversing bridges and tunnels high up in the canopy, and flying down some of the country’s highest zip lines.
They welcome anyone over the age of 10 years as long as they meet the height restriction ( at least 1.4m), so when Go Ape Bracknell asked me to pop down and try out the course with my 14 year old stepson, it seemed a perfect opportunity to test out the theory that today’s kids are becoming unadventurous.
The results of a recent Go Ape poll have revealed that almost a third of parents believe their child is more likely to want to play by themselves or with a friend on a games console (30%) than do something active or sporty outdoors (12%).
Will Blair, head of marketing at Go Ape commented on the findings. “Although quite disappointing, these results aren’t that surprising but with figures of child obesity still on the rise there is a growing need to encourage children back to the outdoors. At Go Ape we want to change the assumption that all children would rather stay cooped-up indoors and encourage them to start enjoying physical activities that are both cool and fun; it’s certainly one way to unleash their adventurous spirit, strengthen family relationships and burn some calories at the same time.”
So how did we fare, up there in the trees? Well for a boy who can never seem to remember what shoe laces are for, it turns out that this teenager was a dab hand at manoevering himself skillfully through the course with all the clipping in, clipping out and general safety procedures that go with throwing yourself off high platforms in the void.
We coaxed each other across wobbly bridges, whooped as we swung on ropes, and laughed like drains at our failed attempts to land the zip wire with any dignity whatsoever. We were no longer ‘games addict teen’ and ‘iPhone junkie stepmum’, but a fearless pair of tree top ninjas, and it was the most fun we’d had for ages.
So have Britain’s teenagers really lost their sense of adventure? Judging by the number of families out on the course that day, it seems that all you have to do to get them away from the computer is set them the right challenge. A high rope, high wire, high adrenaline-filled day out, should probably do the trick.
There are 27 Go Ape courses across the UK, each one set in stunning British woodland. Go to www.goape.co.uk for locations, prices and opening times.
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