February 10, 2022

C-Block Journey – Saturday, 07 – Thursday, 19 September 2024

/ Outdoor Education

Why a journey? Life is a journey, but in the electronic age this journey can often be delivered second hand through TV or computer imagery.

It is both easy and comfortable to experience the risk-free images of nature on a screen. Children are thus long in knowledge but very short on experience to handle that knowledge; much of it gathered second hand.

Dr Nick Bayliss and Dr Tim Barry remind us that humans are hard-wired to connect with nature. Technology seduces us by offering ‘connectedness’, and yet it brings distance. They also propose that we make friends best by sharing adventures; the better the adventure – the better the friendship. Research conducted by Dr Richard Louv, who has established the Nature Network in the USA coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, points clearly to the importance of authentic time spent in nature. The Journey provides this opportunity.

We cannot control nature by the click of a mouse. On the journey, boys will learn to cope with what they cannot control: the weather, distances, blisters, their companions. They will discover their own identities once the layers of comfort and fashion have been peeled back. This is the essence of the journey. Each boy will experience his own journey within his group, growing physically, spiritually and in self-awareness. With the C Block Journey, the challenge is, at least in part, a metaphor of the journey from boyhood to manhood. It is a journey each boy must complete for himself. No one else can do it for him. However, he does not do it by himself.

The geography and demography of KwaZulu-Natal, particularly the Midlands and ‘Berg’ provide unique opportunities and challenges for such an expedition. The Journey takes each group into the wilderness area of the Drakensberg, along farm tracks and across open veld. We travel by kayak down the Thukela River, sleep under the stars and spend time in solitary reflection.

Research tells us that if you ever want to get a boy, or indeed a man, to talk about his emotions, you talk to him about his relationship with his father. Perhaps no other relationship is so deeply rooted in the male psyche. A father’s love and approval of, and affirmation towards his son are foundational in the life of any boy and are quite simply irreplaceable. To this end, as a symbol of your guidance and support of your son’s life-long journey it is really important that each boy’s father, or a father figure, write to him. He will then receive all letters during his time of solitude and they will be a key aspect of the Journey.

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