Garry and Camphill School Aberdeen’s Alpacas!

July 4, 2022


Sheba, Oosha, Portia and Ophelia are our resident Alpacas and the wonderful Garry Duthie is our Alpaca whisperer, who leads in looking after the animals.

The Alpacas arrived at Camphill School Aberdeen (CSA) in 2019, and since then have been a huge hit with our students, their families and our staff on the estate, helping to bring joy to faces every day.

Garry has volunteered with CSA for the past five years; helping us transform the lives of young people with learning disabilities and complex additional support needs who require a minimum of 1:1 highly specialist support.

Through his continued work and devotion, we now have a daily alpaca walk at CSA. The daily walks are hugely beneficial to our young people, they help to get them active, reduce stress and help to gain confidence in building relationships.

The alpacas are walked by our young people with various complex additional support needs, and all have the same huge smile on their faces whenever they are with the animals. Our students gain a huge amount of therapeutic benefit from watching, stroking, walking and feeding carrots to the alpacas. Daily the animals help students to be calmer and help to build their confidence.

Wiepke Bush, Day Services Manager said, “While walking an alpaca there is a feeling of calm, it can centre a person and help reduce anxiety. The slow movements and elegance of the alpaca's help teach our young people to be present in the moment and follow the lead of the animal. Most of our children and young people love walking them and can't wait to get back to it when they need a break on the timetable to give others a go. They really are such a great addition to the school and make a world of difference to staff, students and passers-by.”

Thanks to Garry and setting up the daily walks, he has created something that directly improves the lives of over 50 young people each week as well as everyone they pass on their walking routes.

The daily walks are often the highlight of many young people’s week and a highly coveted activity, often resulting in double shifts for our woolly friends.

Garry said, “I have found the past five years with CSA amazingly rewarding and hugely satisfying. I feel I am doing something useful, and I have developed new skills relating to farming and gardening and have been on courses to help me further understand autism and epilepsy, as well as first aid.”

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