Here at New Wave Wild Project, we design and deliver professional adventure therapy programmes for young people, adults, families, and community groups. We mostly work with young people who are reluctant to engage with traditional therapy, and we deliver our work over 4-hour sessions through adventures in the spectacular wild blue and green spaces of Ireland. Our approach blends the traditional mental health professional approaches of social work, psychology, psychotherapy, and uses tools including REBT (CBT) and mindfulness within nature-based settings. Adventure activities help us to foster engagement, develop therapeutic alliance, communicate concepts, and practice skills and strategies with participants. Our lead Adventure Therapist is the only Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist (CCAT) licence holder outside the US and our innovative approach to mental health intervention has garnered support and recognition from the European and International mental health and adventure-based communities.
Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘season’ when it comes to mental health intervention, so we work year-round, in all kinds of conditions and locations. We don’t run an activity centre, so when we set off for a day’s adventuring, we have our trusty Land Rover Defender as our mobile base, and we gear up with backpacks or drybags.
Working mainly with young people on individual sessions, we find that a mix of adrenaline pumping activity with mindful relaxation helps to foster engagement and provides a range of experience. Sessions are as unique as each person, but the one piece of kit we always keep to hand are the Crua Koala Hammocks. We’ve had a set of lightweight hammocks for our sessions for years, but this summer we got a set of Koalas and we haven’t looked back. We spend a lot of time using the hammocks each month with our participants. The main benefit of any hammock is the simple design. We weren’t sure how much better one hammock might be than another, but we soon realised that the Crua Koala has been thoughtfully reworked to be the lightest, most functional, and comfortable hammock we’ve come across.
The material of the Koala is ultra-lightweight, silky soft, and generously sized. It is suited to any shape and size, and feels very secure; reassuring for the nervous participant! The Koala comes with easy-lock magnetic tent poles that create a bow-shape along the Koala. At first these seem a strange addition, but you quickly realise that they gently hold the hammock open in a boat shape, which emphasises the large hammock area available and, critically, avoids that bunching that happens with traditional hammocks, and the necessary adjustments that ensue.
Our trails and hikes often bring us off the beaten track and the unpredictability of the weather in Ireland means that we often need to take cover. There is nothing more relaxing than pitching a hammock in a quiet woodland space and lying under the tent style hammock cover as the rain falls around you, or even to use the mosquito net and sit comfortably without irritation from bugs. Crucially, the light material doesn’t block sound very much so I can speak with and hear the participants to continue the therapeutic aspect of the session while they sit back and relax in the hammock.
There is a clever pocket at the neck area which neatly takes the small blow-up pillow (or a rolled-up jumper) and helps to keep the person centred. There are several removable zip pockets that attach along the rim of the Koala. Each one is labelled with the intended purpose, and if you decide not to use them, the Velcro line that remains is not the edge that catches and attaches to clothing, it is smooth and soft.
We run several sessions a week with the Koala hammocks and need to launder them between users and this is so quick and easy. The carabiners and poles detach in seconds and the straps and hammock are machine washable and dry in no time.
We put our Koalas through their paces and the quality is really showing in the durability. We appreciate innovation and high quality design and we are so impressed with what Crua have done with the Koala; it is an essential part of our kit and we look forward to seeing more of the range.