A group of brave young Brits have left the UK in order to pursue their dream of following in the footsteps of Bear Grylls. A total of 12 people, aged 19 to 40, flew out from Heathrow last week to start an intensive four month jungle survival course based in the heart of Central America. The trip has been organised through London-based Trekforce, which is part of the Gapforce group.
A group of brave young Brits have left the UK in order to pursue their dream of following in the footsteps of Bear Grylls.
A total of 12 people, aged 19 to 40, flew out from Heathrow last week to start an intensive four month jungle survival course based in the heart of Central America.
The trip has been organised through London-based Trekforce, which is part of the Gapforce group.
Spokesman Marcus Watts, from Gapforce, said the Expedition Leader Training is completely unique and is an intensive test on individuals’ strength and mental ability.
“Not everyone has the physical and mental power to complete this type of training. It is intense, it is tough and it pushes the human body to the extremes,” he said.
“However more and more these days, we are finding individuals who want that sort of challenge. The rise in the popularity of celebrity adventurers such as Bear Grylls is making this type of challenge more appealing to the everyday person.”
The latest recruits will learn how to survive the wilderness alone and navigate through raging rivers and testing terrain.
They will pick up key expedition leader skills and take part in real time scenarios with the Army. On top of that they will learn jungle survival techniques and have the chance to practice helicopter rescues, animal trapping and night navigation.
Bruce Parry, BBC presenter and celebrity explorer, described the Trekforce Belize project as a way of allowing participants to enter in to “the true spirit of raw adventure.”
Formerly a Trekforce expedition leader himself, he said: "Trekforce really inspired me. This is what expeditions are all about. It is an organisation with a great ethos for making a difference where it is needed most, and a true spirit of raw adventure."
This latest departure of 12 recruits was the first one in 2010. Two more courses are due to start later this year, with one in May and another in September.
The four-month course starts with an induction in Wales where participants learn core survival and planning skills plus first aid. The two-week UK based part of the trip also incorporates Mountain Leader Training. Participants are then flown to Belize where they build upon their practical skills and theory. The first section of jungle training is lead by an Army instructor who teaches them how to navigate and live in the jungle.
By week four, participants are taking part in river crossings, night navigation tasks and having solo nights in the jungle. They learn advanced jungle skills including about animal trapping, helicopter evacuation and coordination with the Army.
The minimum age for participants on the Expedition Leader Course is 18. Courses start at £5,950 and include all training in the UK and Belize plus local transport out in the field.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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· Gapforce is a family of companies which offer expeditions and voluntary placements around the world. Volunteers work with major partners such as the Red Cross, UNESCO and AWF.
· The Gapforce family of companies includes Trekforce, Greenforce, Sportforce, Skiforce,Medforce and Ozforce. The organisation runs more than 70 projects that span the globe.
· Overseas voluntary projects are run by Greenforce, which has non-profit status.
· Gapforce is a member of The Year Out Group.
· Gapforce was responsible for bringing a group of Maasai warriors to London in 2009 to take part in the Flora London Marathon. The Massai’s aim was to raise money to bring clean drinking water to their village.
· An array of celebrities have taken part in Gapforce projects including Bruce Parry, Jack Osbourn, Zara Philips and Ben Fogle.
· Gapforce has become a pioneer in the industry, leading the way with profound vision. All ages, nationalities and religions are welcome
· For 20 years, Gapforce been providing innovative gap year projects.
· Greenforce has created UNESCO heritage sites in Fiji and works extensively with WWF and the Red Cross in South America.
· Trekforce has used their expertise to become the first non-Belizean organisation to become an NGO and be given a portion of their rainforest to sustain. They have also established relationships with the governments in Papua New Guinea and Borneo.
· Ozforce has remained a popular choice for participants looking to raise money and our range of jobs in Australia sets us apart, with choices from agriculture to hospitality, teaching to construction.
· Medforce and Skiforce are exciting new ventures that combine our previous knowledge with some of the best programmes worldwide. They are already gaining a solid reputation in the gap year and travel industry.