As we go behind the scenes of RST again, this time we’re talking to our Outdoor Education Co-Ordinator, Nick Hitchmough, on escaping modern distraction and creating a space for children to be children.
What do you do at Rugby School Thailand?
I have been tasked with the (really fun) job of creating and running an area on the campus where children can escape from modern distractions, enjoy the tranquil beauty of the school’s rural location, and learn along the way. The ‘Outdoor Education Camp’ we’ve designed and built is essentially a place for children to be children. The traditional-style camp has a high ropes course, archery, rock-climbing, abseiling, a zip line, an assault course and bush craft activities. It’s perfect for team-building exercises.
What inspired the design of the Outdoor Education Camp?
The school is set in such beautiful countryside, and that played a huge part in the inspiration behind the project; I wanted to create a unique space where people could forget about the modern world and soak up the nature around them. All the materials used to build the camp have been sourced here in Thailand, and where possible I have used traditional Thai building techniques in the design.
What makes this place so special?
It’s been proven that kids who spend more time outdoors have better social functioning, confidence and creativity. Never have I known a school to have the space and enthusiasm to invest in such a unique project! Our children are so lucky to be able to retreat (on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis) to a space that not only educates them on important environmental issues, but enables them to grow as individuals, without the distractions and anxieties of the modern world. You won’t find any wifi, electricity, computers or mobile phones at the camp, kids are just left to play, be themselves and enjoy nature.
How many other schools can say they teach their children how to make survival shelters, purify water with natural materials and light fires using ancient techniques?
Why do you (personally) love it so much?
I am very fortunate that the Teepsuwan family, who own the school, share my great passion for the natural environment and know the importance of allowing pupils to spend time within it. The future of this planet lies within these children’s hands, so what chance does humanity have if they know nothing about its beauty or how it works? And, just as the camp allows children to be children, it allows adults to feel that childlike sense of vitality too. I have the best job in the world, for sure!
In what ways does the camp embody the school ethos, ‘the whole person, the whole point’?
Academia is important, of course, but great grades alone do not develop ‘the whole person’. Character, empathy, manners, life skills and an understanding of the world we live in are all part of setting up our children to be well-rounded individuals throughout their time at Rugby School Thailand and beyond. I truly believe places like our unique camp play a major part that.