Back to nature - "Mommyyy, I ate worms!"

Back to nature - "Mommyyy, I ate worms!"
 

There is no parent in the entire world who would be delighted to hear this sentence. But, many of mums and dads who left kids in the care of the "Bear Grylls Academy" instructors in the village of Pecka, 80 kilometres South from Republika Srpska capital, Banja Luka, did not expect anything else to happen. Kids were excited with this new experience, but mums and dads will probably spend a few sleepless nights asking themselves if they are good parents and where they failed.

"Bear Grylls Academy" was just a part of the "Pecka Outdoor Festival" that took place last weekend in this village. The first day of Festival was reserved for the first "Pecka Marathon XCM" which gathered about 40 professional cyclists from several countries and 150 non-professional cyclists. The second day of the event, that is Sunday, was called "Family day" and organisers tried to create a programme for every member of the family, regardless of age. Along with the "Bear Grylls Academy", there was a Kindergarten in the open, free climbing on the rock near the village, cycling from Pecka to river Pliva source and the seven kilometres -one way- tour to the Sana river spring. The all-day-event finished with a nice lunch and refreshments in Pecka Visitor Center.

Pecka is a village a few kilometres far away from the main road that leads from Croatia, through Banja Luka, to the Adriatic coast. Administratively, the village is under the Mrkonjić Grad municipality jurisdiction, and the nearest place on the main road is Baraći. This remoteness was Pecka's biggest disadvantage for decades. But, a few years ago, a group of enthusiasts decided to use that remote position and turn it into its greatest asset! Thanks to donations from foreign governments, a good plan and the strong will to make a difference, this group renewed the old school building in Pecka, organised the Pecka Visitor Centre and began campaigning so as to push the people of the region to return "back to nature".

"We did not expect so many visitors. We planned the lunch for about 300 guests at Sunday, but more than 500 of them showed up. However, the Pecka team reacted fast and made more food for lunch. Nobody was hungry", Boro Marić, one of those who initiated the Pecka successful story told IBNA.

He added that the Festival was a great experience for him and the whole team. They will use feedback from visitors in order to improve the services and be ready for the next similar event. Pecka activists created a questionnaire for visitors asking them what they think about the event and in what ways could the services be improved. This data will be the base for future activities.

"The large number of Festival participants is saying that there is a need for this kind of recreation and family activities. There is no other Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina like this, and there is just few of them in the region", said Marić, adding that this Centre is part of the Via Dinarica route.

And really, there is room for improvement. First, en route to the river Sana source it is necessary to build resting places with benches and a protective roof so that there is shadow during sunny days, and/or protect walkers from rain. Second, the approach paths to springs are narrow and inappropriate for kids, thus it is necessary to make them wider. Also, maybe, sometime in the future, it would be nice to organise the vehicle for transport of those who are not able to walk the entire route of a total of 14 kilometres (return way).

With a good marketing campaign, Pecka can become an important recreation hub for families that want to spend some time far from the city, enjoying local products and the marvels of nature.... / IBNA

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