We arrived late afternoon to be greeted by our very enthusiastic instructors, who leapt onto the coach to introduce themselves to the children and staff. We were soon taken to our cabins and the children found their rooms and spent some time unpacking. Before long, we set off on a tour of the site and then moved on to the Sports Hall, for some games before dinner. The fish fingers, chips and beans on offer were very well received and happy laughter and chatter filled the dining hall as they demolished their food and cleaned their plates.
Our evening activity was called ‘Whacky Races’ and it was great to see the children’s creativity as they turned miscellaneous socks, a sleeping bag case and other random items into amazing fancy dress costumes. We headed for the loft, where they took part in a range of different races including the ‘Create a Mummy’ race; “Dizzy Angels’ race; ‘Shoe Tower’ race and ‘Shoe Golf’.
With just a little time left to play before bed, the children looked very well settled in. They were all tucked up in their rooms for lights out by half past nine and quiet by 10.30pm. (The staff weren't far behind!)
Should anyone have thought that year 6 children don’t shower when away from home, they needn’t have worried. The hot water system was already gently humming away as the sun rose this morning!
After a hearty breakfast of bacon, spaghetti, hash browns, cereal, fruit and yoghurt (although most restrained themselves to fewer items!), spirits were high and excitement rose as we headed for our first adventure activities of the day. Split into four groups, the children are following different timetables and enjoying sharing their highlights and hearing about exploits they have yet to encounter. This morning’s options included Canoeing, Sensory Trust Trail, Abseiling and Giant Swing. The children were great at encouraging one another and cheering each other on. We saw a number of children overcome fears and show courage and determination to step outside their comfort zones, achieving things they weren’t sure they could.
Lunch was Jacket potatoes with beans or chilli, salad and fruit, by which point forty five appetites were reset and raring to go!
This afternoon the weather was glorious and warm, so much so that one group abandoned ship in their Canoeing session and went for a dip! There was much hilarity, as the children learnt to paddle forwards and backwards and steer in order to collect a large number of rubber duck from the lake, each worth points. Other games made the time fly and before we knew it we were back on dry land. Meanwhile other groups flew down the zipwire, plucked up all their courage to launch themselves on the Giant Swing, or worked together to overcome problem solving challenges that required patience, communication skills and co-operation.
After a dinner of meatballs or chicken pie, with lemon drizzle cake to finish, we headed back to our cabins for an extra jumper, before making our way to the campfire circle. Flames were already dancing in the fire pit and the children sang and chanted with great gusto in an attempt to drown out the other schools present!
I think showers might be a little later tomorrow morning, as they are all looking slightly more in need of sleep than they did last night. Fingers crossed for a quiet night and good sleep all round.
Predictions yesterday were proved correct this morning, as Miss Ahmed had to make her way from room to room waking children for breakfast. The menu was sausages, with baked beans and mushrooms, alongside toast, porridge, cereal, fruit and yoghurt. We certainly aren’t going hungry at all!
As we had an earlier dining hall slot this morning, there was a little time after breakfast to relax, before setting off for our first activity. The adults swapped groups and enjoyed working with different children today. Again, as groups were on different timetables there was a range of activities today, some being the same as yesterday, but for other groups, and some which none of us had tried before. All four groups had similar morning plans though, with trapeze and orienteering tasks to do. Orienteering tested our knowledge of compass directions, with some great initial activities to help the children practise and improve their skills. The children then spread out across the site, using their maps and find all the stamper locations.
Our instructor for the trapeze was fantastic; brilliant at encouraging the children and sharing a very important message: ‘If you think you can’t you probably won’t; if you think you can you will almost always find you are right.’ All the children were impressed with the power and impact of their own positive thinking, which with one group started an interesting discussion about what we might be able to achieve back in school or at home with this attitude of ‘I can do it’. There were some awesome achievements and happy smiling faces made their way back to lunch.
Wraps and tacos were on offer for us at the dining hall, with salad on the side and fruit for pudding. Suitably fuelled up and rested after their lunch, the children headed back out for the afternoon sessions. The weather has been absolutely amazing and astoundingly for October, we were all a little jaded from the heat! This afternoon saw groups taking part in Archery, Raft Building and Giant Swing. We discovered a few natural archers, some of whom, despite not having shot with a bow and arrow before, were able to ‘rescue the dragon princess’ by hitting different colours on the target in the correct order. The Giant Swing was a huge hit, with squeals and screams reaching far across the land, no doubt disturbing both adjoining counties of Kent and Surrey! The Raft Building was equally successful and one group were delighted when Miss Ahmed took a plunge into the lake from their raft!
Dinner was lasagne or chicken nuggets, followed by apple crumble and custard. This evening the children are busy running off any excess energy they have left by racing around finding and collecting information about different countries which are hidden on the sides of various structures around the site. We are hopeful for another quiet night tonight, as the day has been exciting and busy in equal measure. Everyone is happy and smiling, with a sprinkling of pride and quite a few heads held high from their achievements today.
Our morning wake-up call brought the realisation that it had rained overnight, whilst we slept oblivious to the outside world. However, the sky was quick to clear and by the time we had filled ourselves with bacon, omelette, toast or a cold breakfast, the sun was peeking through, the sky was rapidly turning blue and we were ready for another day of adventure.
This morning the activities included Abseiling, Sports and Team Games, Sensory Trail, All-Aboard and Raft Building. The children are becoming experts in donning their harnesses and helping one another out to tighten these (before being double and treble checked by an instructor of course!). All Aboard was a new challenge today. This involved four children taking turns to climb a telegraph pole and then clamber onto a small tea tray sized plate fixed to the top. Here they awaited their climbing friends, until all four were stood on the tiny platform at the top. At this point they had a choice. They could link hands and lean back, seeing how long they could balance one another. Alternatively they could play ‘bum wars’ to try to bump each other off. The latter was definitely more popular!
After lunch (pasta with cheese, tomato or ham and mushroom sauce) and fruit, we headed back out for Part 2. This afternoon we all covered the same activities, which none of the children had yet done. Everyone had a chance to rock climb and to try their hand at rifle shooting. The instructors were excellent; clear, calm, precise instructions meant that many of the children learnt new skills and were successful when they hadn’t imagined they would be. It was lovely to see their beaming smiles as they improved on previous attempts, by listening to advice and trying again. It was a great afternoon.
After a short games session in the sports hall, we headed in for dinner; a choice of chicken curry, cottage pie or Quorn and vegetable enchilada. As I write, there is much excitement as the children prepare for the disco evening, up in ‘The Loft’. Bedtime will follow and hopefully sleep, before they rise early to pack their bags. We will enjoy a final morning of activities tomorrow including Problem Solving, Sports and Team Games, All Aboard, Sensory Trail and Zipwire, before heading home. It has been an amazing week with so many successes, triumphs and highlights. The year 6 team have been a real credit to Churchill, with their excellent manners being commented on every day by different instructors. They’ve been a great group of kids to take away, and hopefully, once they have told you all their tales, they will be tired enough to give you all a nice quiet weekend!