Monday 16th September - Friday 20th September 2019
Monday 16th September 2019
Our journey down was smooth and we arrived exactly on time. This afternoon's activities included skiing, climbing, an initiative course (physical problem solving) and archery.
Many of the children found skiing tricky to get used to but some seemed to take to this skill almost naturally. Sidnee, Kiera and Matthew particularly shone, and a special mention must go to Joshua, Kyrin and Sam F - who all showed resilience in conquering a difficult technique.
On the initiative course, children learnt the value of teamwork: listening to one-another, sharing ideas, and learning that when trying one method 3 times - and the outcome being the same - try something different. Lewis's selflessness was highlighted by the instructors, as was his agility in the 'wall task'! Aiden C's leadership and problem solving skills stood out on the initiative course and Aimee was commended for sharing her ideas and speaking up in front of her group. Both Aiden and Aimee also overcame a slight claustraphobic feeling in the man-made caves to come out triumphant.
On the climbing wall, Sofia, James, Charlie and Mr Knights all demonstrated great strength and dexterity to scale the vertical challenges that had stood before them.
Below the climbers and out of sight stood an archer to compare to Robin Hood, or the Arrow, in Gracie. She regularly hit the bullseye and looked as if she had been firing arrows all her life.
As I write this, the children are tucked up in beds asleep. Except for the groups of boys playing torch lightsabers... but I'm sure it won't be long before they are asleep too.
Tomorrow's actions starts out on the water with sailing and kayaking. Until then, goodnight.
Tuesday 17th September 2019
Good morning all,
Fresh from a good night's sleep, I bring you a full report from yesterday.
The morning began on the water with all children being involved in either kayaking or sailing. Niamh and Kiera set the pace in the sailing group, cutting through the waves with ease.
The kayaking group had many children who had a very enjoyable time. Carson, who had never kayaked before, excelled. For many, kayaking was a tricky skill to master but all the children perservered and eventually had a great time paddling around. No one epitomised this more than Emily, who decided she didn't want to go back in the water after a break. She sat in the boat and edged towards the water. Before long she was out in the pontoon and having a great time.
One of the instructor's (Matt) commented that the Sprites group was "the best school he has worked with all season". He went on to praise the children's manners, resilience and effort. This was particularly noticeable all day from Carson - who helped almost everyone he was in contact with with their bouyancy aids - and Montana, whose perseverance and positive attitide to all activities has shone through.
After lunch, a combination of the inititive course, velodrome cycling, climbing and skiing was the order of the day. A special mention must go to Kiera-Mei and Leo C here. Both were nervous about riding bikes yet both managed to round around the velodrome, on bikes with no brakes! Well done to those for conquering their fears. Evie and Oscar took to cycling easily, speeding round the velodrome.
On the climbing walls, Ashleigh was very comfortable and rushed up the wall at breakneck speed. Sharna's exploits on the wall need to mentioned as well. Sharna did not feel as comfortable as Asheligh but improved at every attempt and kept going even when she found it difficult.
Over on the initiative course, another instructor (Charlotte) spoke highly of her group's teamwork, saying they were the best she'd led! Sam S was particularly good at giving advice and demonstrating leadership. Kacey was also picked out for her incredibly positive attitude and encouragement towards others. This was especially important when helping Mrs Shooter out of a sticky situation in the caves!
Today's activities have already started well, with three groups heading off to the new Forest and the other two taking part in the Team Swing or shooting.
The children are having a great time and are a credit to the school and their families.
Wednesday 18th September
Another beautifully sunny day greeted us yesterday, which was perfect for our sessions. In the morning, three groups went into The New Forest for orienteering, whilst the other two groups exchanged shooting and Team Swing sessions.
Out in the forest, Niamh and Isobel demonstrated skill in reading maps, navigating their way through the forest and taking the lead in group discussions and decision making.
Back at the main base, Alfie proved he was a crack shot in the shooting, hitting three out of five shots in the bullseye! The two groups that took part in the Team Swing ranked this challenge in their top three activities. Some were nervous about going on but everybody harnessed up and gave it a go. Sharna and Leah were adament they were not going on but after a small trial run, they decided it was okay and were hoisted right to the top, before releasing squeals of fear and fun in equal measure.
In the afternoon, all the children were out on the water for the last time: either kayaking or sailing. Many were dubious about going on the boats still. Brooke and James were openly saying they wouldn't go in... However, two hours later they were paddling about laughing and smiling. James even said later that kayaking had been his favourite activity! Sam S, who has taken to every activity with aplomb, gliding through the water straight away and make light work of teh challenges set by the instructors. Kayla made an equally impressive start to her kayaking adventure. Mr Knights commenting she was a "pocket rocket" on the water!
Around the corner, group 4 and 5 took part in sailing. Byron was a little scared and came back to shore. Speaking to Mrs Grimwood, he said, "I don't want to go but I am going to challenge myself". He was quickly launched in to a speed boat with an instructor, taken to a sailing boat with two other confident children and spent the duration of the time smiling and cavorting on the waves.
We finished the day with some free time in one of the hangers: playing football, basketball, skipping etc. with the vain hope of tiring the children out before bed... We'll try harder today!
Thursday 19th September
Yesterday was our last full day at Calshot. Shooting, cycling, orienteering, skiing and team swing were the orders of the day.
In the morning, Ariana and Tayla were our sharp shooters, finding the bulls-eye and outer bull regularly in shooting and archery respectively.
Over on the ski slope, Aiden G showed incredible improvement in just one ski lesson: showcasing wonderful balance and confidence. These skills were mirrored by Leo P and Taylor, who both improved hugely over their two sessions.
Kalyn showed no fear on Team Swing but also showed great strength pulling the rope to help get other children up.
In the velodrome, Lauren and Oliver were picked out for different reasons. Lauren was nervous about riding fixed bikes with no brakes but managed to overcome her fears. Oliver was less worried and showed great composure. Not only was he a skilled rider, he epitomised teamwork by helping set everyone off and helping them stop.
Outside in the forest, Sarayah took no time in taking charge and navigating her team around the forest to find the hidden clues.
By the end of the day, we spoke as a teaching staff and Mr Knights did not have enough superlatives to describe how he felt about his group’s efforts and ability on the climbing wall. All were “amazing”.
The children are looking forward to coming home, though a few wanted an extra day to hone their skills in their favourite activities. As I write this, the children are packing their bags ready to leave at lunch time. We are due back at 5:30. Should we be delayed; text messages will be sent with our ETA.
Mr Hitchin, Mr Knights, Mrs Grimwood and Mrs Shooter