Students preapre for the jungles and volcanoes of South America

Students preapre for the jungles and volcanoes of South America

23th July 2014


INTREPID young travellers are about to embark on the four-week journey of a lifetime to the jungles and volcanoes of South America.

Fifty one students and six staff from Ripon Grammar School plus three expedition leaders are taking part in a trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rica where they will also visit remote coastal regions and work with underprivileged children in schools.

Two years in the planning, the tour group will be split into three teams who will visit different parts of the countries and take part in different projects and activities.

Josh Belward, 15, of South Stainley, said: "As soon as we were told about the trip I knew I wanted to be part of it. I think it will be such an amazing experience to spend a month in a brilliant new country and to do things I may not get the chance to do again."

Will Stobbs, 15, of Bishop Thornton, said: "My group will be trekking in the Osa peninsula and the Monteverde cloud forest, with the main trek lasting a week. We'll be camping in the jungle. We'll also be working in a school in Nicaragua, doing painting and decorating or building and teaching and playing with the children."

Lucy Kettlewell, 15, of Melmerby, is hoping to put her GCSE Spanish to good use. "I'm most looking forward to the project work and also exploring how different the countries are to ours," she said.

The students, who range from 14-18, were given the chance to volunteer for the expedition before under going a simple fitness test and a training weekend in preparation.

"We also had to raise £4,000 each which we've done through a variety of sponsored activities, bag packing and car boot sales. Some students abseiled off the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough and others did the Three Peaks walk," explained Patrick Moon, 15, of Grewelthorpe.

The trip is organised through the World Challenge organisation and follows previous overseas Ripon Grammar School expeditions to Peru in 2008, Namibia in 2010 and Vietnam and Cambodia in 2012.

Erin Fowler, 15, of Kirby Hill, and Lauren Pybus, 14, of Kirkby Fleetham, both said they were looking forward to experiencing different cultures and seeing diverse wildlife. As well as seeing sloths and venomous spiders, one group will visit the Tortuguero coast, which is famed for nesting turtles.

Head of RE at Ripon Grammar School and trip organiser Julian Clarke said he hoped it would inspire the students to visit more unusual countries when they are older.

"One of the purposes is to equip the students with skills, experience and confidence so they feel able to visit more remote parts of the world in safety as independent travellers," he explained.

"The benefits of an expedition like this are multi-faceted. On past trips students have got the most from teaching and learning with children who live a much less privileged life than we do, and that makes them appreciate much more what we have. Our students give a lot doing voluntary work, but also gain a lot from it."

Mr Clarke added: "What they witness may inform decisions they make in later life with regard to ethics and helping others. We hope it will develop further a sense of awe and wonder and appreciation of diverse cultures, landscapes and wildlife, and be an experience that will remain with them for the rest of their lives."

Details about the next school expedition - to Ethiopia in 2016 - will be announced in September. 

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