This event is always a favourite of ours to run in partnership with Alyn from Alliance youth Works and Saturday certainly lived up to our expectations. The drizzly start to a typical autumn morning ensured the children arrive suitably “suited and booted” while the parents underestimated the conditions underfoot choosing form over function with some stylish pointed shoes on display.After Alyn gave out our “Den Commandments” at the castle, we were ready to go. As is often the case in the valley park we are often accompanied by other visitors to the site, as the case was with the canoeists taking advantage of the wet weather and fast flowing Blackwater river.We crossed the white bridge to our Den building site waving at the canoeists as we passed by. While Alyn took time to tell the adults how to be safe, the kids were off needing little instruction. A great bunch of eager kids turned up today and wasted no time in selecting a suitable base to begin their mornings work. By pairing up with friends or neighbours, the job of shifting some long lengths of ash were made manageable.The canoeists were intrigued by the morning arrivals on site and it wasn’t long before they dropped by to have a look. Some kids took the opportunity to acquire the vacant canoe having picked up a few tips while passing over the bridge.If you ever need a pair of friendly builders these two girls will certainly liven up your day. Two proud homeowners taking a rest to admire their mornings work.There was a sense of pride and joy today by many of the participants, and two great smiles from these new builders who also took time to help other groups. There is so much emphasis on “employability skills” in schools these days, yet providing the space and opportunity is all these two required.One of the favourite pastimes after building your den is to invite friends over to show it off. It really was a family affair today and there are few activities that capture people’s attention or where normal family roles disappear as everyone simply mucks in.With the campfire lit and a lovely smell drifting around the den building site the kids learnt to take care and work around each other with plenty of hazards. A hugely rewarding day for all and a re-energised youth who saw a different side to their valley park. I know there will be a few visitors back to view the dens over the next few weeks and I don’t mean the squirrels.