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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 April, 2003, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
Pupils plan for Patagonian trek
Bryn Gwyn, Patagonia
The group will spend a month in Patagonia

A group of teenagers from the Conwy area are preparing to go on a trip of a lifetime to the mountains of Patagonia.

The students from Ysgol y Creuddyn and Ysgol John Bright in Llandudno and Llandrillo College, Rhos on Sea have been preparing for the trip to south America for over a year.

It is organised by Snowdonia based youth development company, Outlook Expeditions - Camre Cymru.

Their aim is to provide young people with transferable life skills, increasing their self-confidence, cultural and social awareness.

For the past 15-months, the group have been taught the skills they will need on the journey and to raise funds to pay for the trip by the company in Bethesda.

On Thursday the youngsters held a fundraising event in Bangor to raise money for the trip.

Rhys Davies from Outlook Expedition said: "We teach them key skills such as team working, communication, problem solving and planning and organising.

Group visiting Patagonia
A fundraising evening for the group in Bangor

"They are also taught entrepreneurial skills and how to raise money and organise fundraising events."

The trek will take them to El Bolson - a place Mr Davies describes as "one of the seven energy centres in the world".

Settlers

Deeper in the mountains they will be helping the local Mapuche Indian tribe improve their school before descending to Porto Madryn where Welsh immigrants landed in 1865 in search of a new life.

They will have an opportunity to meet the Welsh- speaking descendants of the original settlers in Esquel, Gaiman and Trelew.

At Porto Madryn too they will have an opportunity to monitor the Southern Right Whale, which was an endangered species until recently.

It is an opportunity I could not miss and something I can look back on in years to come
Carys Jones, student

They will also go up to the rainforest in the north of Argentina to study the ecology.

Mr Davies says the aim of their treks is to help the youngsters become rounded adults and aid their personal development, something he believes is missing from the school curriculum.

Mr Davies added: "On their return we will be reviewing the skills they have learnt and seeing where they are strongest as individuals - as leaders or team members .

"It follows the aims of schools in terms of personal and social education."

Carys Jones, 16, a pupil at Ysgol y Creuddyn, says she signed up because it was too good to miss.

"We are going to walk in the mountains of El Bolson and taking part in a social project helping the Mapuche Indians improve their school.

Perspective

"We then go on to the northern jungles.

"It is an opportunity I could not miss and something I can look back on in years to come.

"At my age it is a chance to learn about ourselves."

"After we come back there will be a skills day focusing on what we have learnt and appraising the journey."

Although she says the only thing she is worried about is the plane journey there, she acknowledges the month-long journey will change her perspective on life.

Along with a group leader, former teacher Ageliki Politis from Bethesda will be providing pastoral care for the teenagers on the journey.




SEE ALSO:
Brothers head for Patagonia
04 Feb 03  |  England
Patagonia, land of song
26 Oct 01  |  Wales


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