Army Chaplains' Blog

The Army isn’t all work

Posted on: July 3, 2017

[Army chaplains, as with all other members of the Armed Services, are encouraged to participate in ‘Adventurous Training’. This can be any number of activities including sailing, rock climbing, hill walking, mountain biking, parachuting – any activity which will challenge individuals and teams to push themselves to learn new skills in a challenging environment. Below, Padre Duncan Weaver gives an account of one such activity.]

The Army isn’t ALL work’ the Army recruiting poster from many years back said. Certainly for me, this was the case as I embarked on exercise Roebuck Sweden Adventure with the Brigade Headquarters. Seven great days in Sweden canoeing, mountain biking and rafting in the Varmland region of that beautiful open country.

The highlight for most of the twenty-two participants was building the three rafts out of logs, which were our main focus for the adventure. We load them up with our tents, food and equipment and floated them gently down the wide meandering river. Taking turns to control them each day whilst others went off mountain biking or canoeing. They were cumbersome, unwieldy crafts who responded reluctantly to our attempts at steering as they carried their cargo gently downstream. Braving the mosquitoes we stopped each night to wild camp, sitting around open fires eating our food and then trying to sleep with the daylight still strong at midnight. We really learned what it meant to ‘go with the flow’ as there was no way we could travel upstream or go faster than the current dictated. At our final destination we simply unloaded all our kit, untied the ropes and let the logs carry on downstream, slightly sad that our adventure was over. Since returning to work the phrase “think of the river” has been heard in the headquarters on several occasions when things have got a bit stressed or difficult. A great experience for everyone in so many different ways and certainly one that has given me much food for thought and also some great sermon illustrations!

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