Bushcraft as a Youthwork Tool

Strategic Partnership on Youth

Project Rationale

Against a background of increasing health risks, The EU Youth Strategy (2010-18) identifies health & well-being as a key initiative. This project, Bushcraft as a Youthwork Tool (BYT), addresses two defined aims of that initiative: a) promoting mental and sexual health, sport, physical activity and healthy lifestyles; b) raising awareness of how sport can promote teamwork, intercultural learning and responsibility. The learning and development of this project will take place outdoors, an environment, with respect to physical activity, experienced less and less by youth today. The approaches and methods, framed as part of non-formal and relational practice, are designed to promote young people’s well-being and mental health. This innovative project focuses on a specific outdoor youth work methodology, BYT. It will provide youth work practitioners and youth volunteers with the necessary competences to directly engage young people in BYT activity, and it will produce a 35-page accessible and practical, ‘Forest Schools and Bushcraft Practices’ E-Toolkit, based on the training, to support the delivery of BYT elsewhere.

50% of the estimated 300 young people, participating in the BYT ‘pilot’ activities, are young people with fewer opportunities. The activities will comprise 9 short-term training residentials across 5 partner countries, in intercultural contexts, involving youth work practitioners, youth volunteers, young people and researchers; a multiplier event in each of the partner countries to introduce the E-Toolkit and promote and disseminate the BYT programme. The programme will be delivered through a cascading process: the delivery team will take youth work practitioners through each topic, practitioners will then take their youth volunteers through the same topics, and later, this joint team of youth work practitioners and youth volunteers will deliver the BYT programme to new groups of young people. The topics will comprise, for example, principles of survival; shelter building; fire lighting; water purification; knife skills; wild food and foraging. There will be workshops on broader social issues, such as reflecting on the role of sport and outdoor learning in local communities.

Project Objectives

1) To train 24 youth work practitioners, from different EU contexts, in a new methodology, BYT, for engaging and working with young people.

2) To enable these teams of youth work practitioners to go on to deliver BYT activity for other young people.

3) To create a group of youth mentors to operate as ‘peer educators’ (youth participation in this process is fundamental) in the promotion and delivery of BYT programme through multiplier events and future activity.

4) To develop a ‘Forest Schools and Bushcraft Practices’ E-Toolkit, for use by youth work practitioners and young people (to be available in each of the partners’ languages).

5) To enable the EBGC Trainer Team to acquire greater intercultural competence in delivering BYT.

6) To explore and affirm how relational/non-formal approaches in the delivery of outdoor education can enhance the general wellbeing of young people, including their mental health.


Coordinator: Essex Boys and Girls Clubs, UK.
National Council of YMCA’s, Ireland.
Futuro Digitale, Italy.
CDCD, Romania.
YMCA George Williams College, UK.