Well ive done it again, ive neglected the blogs, but i promise you despite the silence on here, we have been up to alot of exciting stuff and il do some catch up blogs to let everyone know some of the amazing stuff we have been part of recently.
but in the meantime, i want to share what happened on our weekend residential experience to High Borrans with Club 1, a partnership project we run with Active North Tyneside.
As part of the on going partnership between Active North Tyneside and ourselves, we did our third annual Club 1 high Borrans residential. We took a group of young men to the lake district where we explored team work, employability, shared learning and good old fashioned outdoor education as a way of developing skills that can be used in life, The residential is part of a larger project which gives young men access to gym passes, physical health support, food and nutrition, emotional and mental wellbeing and employability.
So now lets look at what happened
The residential started friday night with us loading the bus and setting off around 5:30pm. due to a 2hr traffice jam, we arrived at High Borrans around 10pm. there was time for a quick bite to eat and some chillout before bed in preperation for a long day on saturday.
Saturday saw an 8am rise and breakfast before giving out club 1 jackets, briefing the teams on expectations for the weekend, assigning work tasks...oh and letting them know there would be prizes for the team that showed the most team work, communication and willingness.
We split the lads into 3 work teams with more experienced lads being team leaders and responsible for guiding the newer members. They then spent the next 7hrs completing tasks. Team 1 had to clear a bbq area, build new benches and make it suitable for the younger kids who go.
a second team had to build a storage facility that would store raft building equiptment. the third team had to dig out a flood ditch and install an new drainage system. The jobs involved a number of key skills that are vital for the work environment and it was great to see the lads work so hard and well together to develop things for those who would use the centre after them and it was great to see how much pride they took in their work. (it was also fun for the workers getting stuck in and muddy as well)
after this we spent the small amount of daylight left doing team games on the low ropes course, having to transport buckets of water over different obstacles.
this was followed by a hearty dinner (High borrans is possibly one of the best places for food ive been to) of foods such as steak pie, home made deserts and hot cuppas.
after this we had some chillout time, i retained my unbeaten title at table football, before we spent the evening with Mikes Maverick chat show. A "talkshow" style activity where Mike interviiews different young people, sharing their experiences with each other on anything from, work, lifestyles, and more. this was a great chance for young people to find out about each other.
after this we had a bit more down time before everyone fell off to bed knackered from a long but rewarding day.
Sunday saw us up and early and packed. We had a filling breakfast of bacon or veggie sausage sarnies, before getting kitted up to go caving.
Once kitted up, we grabbed our pickaxes... sorry, i mean packed lunches and with a HiHo HiHo it was off to the caves we'd go.
The caves are a great chance to test responses in new and unfamiliar environments for the group and for me it was a great chance to make an annoying amount of references to the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
After an amazing few hours in the caves, it was time to head back to the Centre where we filmed some interviews with the young people, got showered and packed the bus. We were treated to a hearty tea including sticky toffee pudding (it was that good i had to have 2 portions). we then gave out the awards for the teams before saying goodbye and driving back to North Shields (thankfully without traffic jams).
Now despite writing what feels like a million words, its hard to capture a residential in words, photos or even film. The amount of learning from both staff and young people is outstanding, the conversations can range from light hearted banter to deep discussions around different struggles, and i truely believe you can do a years worth of developmental work with a group in the 48hrs or so of a resi. This resi ranks with some of the best ive been a part of and its been great to see the lads develop.
A special thanks goes to High Borrans for supporting us in the delivery of this and also keeping us so well fed.