Sailing, kayaking and caving are just a few of the activities pupils of a Grantham school have been able to try as part of a team-building project.
Three groups of 10 pupils from West Grantham Academy St Hugh’s went on outdoor learning experiences at the Mount Batten Watersports Centre in Plymouth.
As well as an opportunity to gain skills in worksing as part of a team, the residemntial trips were also designed to build on students’ confidence in line with the school’s motto of ‘broadening horizons’.
Each group wrote about their trip. Here’s what they had to say:
* Mount Batten – Trip 1 – 18 March to 24 March 2013
Paula Coverley and Sara Martin wrote: “What a fantastic experience!
“Watching the girls try new things they had never experienced before was brilliant; they always had a smile on their faces and embraced every minute. They had the opportunity to try sailing, kayaking, power boating, caving, zumba, plankton fishing and much more.
“The girls came together and worked well as a team to help each other achieve their certificates.
“The cold weather and snow couldn’t stop these girls from taking part and jumping in the water. Caving was a favourite among the group, with the girls being able to crawl around and slide in the mud, as well as crawling in tight spaces through the cave.
“The girls were left speechless when told we were staying an extra day because of the bad weather, which meant we had the opportunity to go to Nando’s for a lovely meal with John and visit the Aquarium.
“The girls thanked us by giving us a beautiful performance of singing and dancing on our last night.”
* Mount Batten – Trip 2 – 29 April to 3 May 2013
Oliver Saunders and Pippa Rowley wrote: “In stark contrast to the arctic conditions experienced throughout March’s trip, as we departed St Hugh’s - at exactly 5:47 am - dawn rolled back the bed covers and brought with it the glorious sunshine we had not seen since sometime last year.
“Basking in April’s golden sunshine the students slapped on sun cream and squeezed themselves into wetsuits, coats, wellies, hats and buoyancy aids ready to hit the water to take part in a variety of activities. With a mixture of emotions, varying levels of comfort - and Imantas still searching for his wetsuit - the group experienced fantastic new activities as they went sailing, kayaking and power boating, earning Level 1 certificates in all three disciplines- with many of the students having successfully, and spontaneously, completed the ‘capsize drill’ when out sailing.
“From here on in our week was a non-stop mixture of fun, laughter, apprehension, freezing water and glorious sunshine. The week was not all splashing about in the water as through the activities the group formed new friendships, learnt invaluable lessons in team work, resilience and how, in pulling together, we can achieve a great deal.
“Furthermore, we also discovered that if any of us should captain an oil tanker then an international ecological disaster is a very real possibility, as even the shores of New York were not safe when one of our students was manning the helm of Plymouth University’s ‘ship simulator’!
“Did we mention the sunshine?
“Seeing students blossom in an environment they are not used to, with people from outside their friendship groups, was a fantastic spectacle to witness. The bravery, determination and warmth shown throughout the week by our students, not only to one another but also to the centre instructors, made it another fabulous week down in Mount Batten.”
* Mount Batten – Trip 3 – 13 to 17 May 2013
Pete Hesketh and Gillian Brady wrote: “From the moment we arrived, we knew we were about to have one of the best weeks of our lives!
“We began the week gaining the following qualifications:
• PaddlePower - two days of kayaking and canoeing…with lots of capsizing!
• RYA Junior Award - a day’s sailing trip in a ‘Hawk’ boat, and a day of sailing in our own boats
• Powerboat Level 1- learning how to safely drive a 50cc powerboat. This was topped off with an incredibly exciting trip on a power boat on our final night.
“As well as having great fun on the water, we also tried out lots of new activities on land: touring the National Marine Aquarium, working out with the fitness instructor, identifying marine life with the Marine Biology Association, spending time at Plymouth University learning how to plot on a chart (map of the sea), and using an incredible simulator to ‘drive’ the route - although somehow we ended up driving our boat to New York!
“Students were a credit to themselves, their families and the academy; they were praised at every opportunity for their excellent conduct and exemplary behaviour and even took the time to write individual thank you cards to each of their instructors on the final night.
“Thomas (7LBR) couldn’t believe he saw a “real life shark”, Annmarie (7AMI) said “this is the best week of my life” and Lewis (9GBR) asked if we could “please stay here forever”!”