Thursday, 6 October 2016

Welcome to Jack and Gary!

It is time to welcome the last two people that complete this year's DisTIL Team! Read what Jack and Gary say about joining Adventure Plus here.


Hello! My name is Jack Norridge, I have had my eyes on this gap year for around about a year and a 
half now before I joined the team. I finished my A-levels last year and really needed a break from education, so DisTIL was the perfect opportunity for me. I look forward to learning and developing skills in activities and working with lots of different people, whilst also learning about God and developing my faith in him. I really couldn’t ask for much more! I’m looking forward to developing
relationships with lots of new people. I also count on being adventurous, trying lots of new sports and activities and doing my best to excel in each. I really enjoy working with children and helping people achieve their goals - this really is a passion of mine. I’m looking forward to this year and seeing how it changes me as a person and how we grow together as a DisTIL team.


Hello, I’m Gary and I am just beginning a DisTIL year with Adventure Plus. It is very likely that I am the most mature (in years!) member that a DisTIL team has ever had, but I hope to keep up with the more youthful pace.

I have loved the outdoors since my first walk in the Lake District when I was 13 and since then have hiked and rock climbed in various parts of the UK and Europe. In 1997 I moved to Turkey with my family and worked for a Christian organisation where I supported the local church as well as organising mountain trekking tours as a small business. Since returning to the UK I have done various jobs and completed a degree in English literature and ESOL, and did part time ESOL teaching.

When I heard about A+ and the vision they have for the site at Windmill Farm I felt encouraged to perhaps be a part of it and hone some of my experience into solid skills and qualifications. I had never canoed until the beginning of my DisTIL year and, having enjoyed every minute of it, I am looking forward to more practice and passing the necessary assessments to become an instructor. I am also keen to gain the skills to become a mountain biking instructor and revise and update my SPA in order to take groups climbing. Most of all I am looking forward to being in the outdoors!

I hope to deepen my faith and trust in God so that I can combine outdoor activities and faith as a means of making a positive difference in the lives of young people.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Welcome to Chloe and Josh!


As my A levels came to an end I was constantly being asked ‘what are you doing now?’ and ‘What university will you be going to?’

I was certain outdoor pursuits was the way forward for me, but honestly I had no clue how to go about getting into the job and getting the training I needed. I was certain not to go to university, as I hate loads of theory work. I like to be thrown in at the deep end and learn in that way! I set out looking for hands-on courses to join. Then one day I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw a blog written by a friend who was on the DisTIL gap year. After discussing the gap year with them my mind was made up. I was applying for A+.

This year I’m looking forward to gaining the qualifications I need to pursue my goals of becoming an Outdoor Adventure Instructor and heading off on events to work around the country.


Hello my name is Josh and I am from all over the place!  Due to being an MK (Missionary Kid) it is difficult to say where home is, having lived around the world. Although originally from the South of England my family is now based in Lincolnshire at the New Tribes Mission headquarters. So I guess that would be home for me.

So the time came when I knew I would have to leave the nest and I asked God to guide me to where He would have me go after college, and that place ended up being Adventure Plus! Why Adventure Plus? Well apart from all the exciting activities that I will be involved in, such as rock climbing and kayaking, I also enjoy working with children and have a desire to grow as a Christian, which is exactly what A+ is all about. For me knowing that A+ invests so much in your spiritual wellbeing convinced me that this was the place for me. I also look forward to developing skills in various areas and serving A+ in whatever way they would have me. I have never done well in a classroom setting, so to be able to use my practical skills in service for the Lord is such an awesome opportunity. Even in this last week I have seen God use my practical skills in different activities and in work.

I am most looking forward to seeing how God develops me as a person as I seek to serve and live for Him throughout this year and the rest of my life. Adventure Plus is just the start of a new exciting adventure for me!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Welcome to Tom and Charis!

Now that we have said goodbye to our departing DisTIL Team (we will miss you!), we can welcome the fresh new faces that are joining A+ as this years DisTIL Team. 

Here is what Tom has to say about joining: 

After just joining A+ and not having a clue what I was letting myself in for, I have had an amazing first week, being thrown into the deep end, getting outdoors and seeing what is in store for the children that come to Adventure Plus. We have been canoeing, climbing, abseiling and mountain biking and I can’t wait to give kids the chance to do these amazing activities.


Hello, my name is Charis and I am from Surrey. I finished my A Levels in June and I am looking forward to a year to breath away from school before maybe going to university.
I started to enjoy outdoor adventure activities through Guides, by going to various camps and activity evenings. My favourite activity is climbing, and in January I joined my school’s climbing club to learn some knots and improve my technique. I also enjoy bush craft, archery and camping. When I am at home I like going for walks with my family, as the area I live in is beautiful and great for walking.

I have always been a regular churchgoer, and attended Sunday school and holiday clubs as a child. As a teen was part of my church youth group and went to Soul Survivor three times with them, which is where I really started to get to know God for myself. I am really close to my youth group, and last year I set up a cell group to allow us to be able to have a go at running our own activities and bible studies. Before coming to A+ I went to Zambia with my youth group for two weeks, and I was inspired by the faith and love that the people we met had for God.

In my spare time I like baking, reading and spending time with my friends and family, as well as my rabbit
called Alex.

I am looking forward to spending lots of time in the outdoors, doing activities that I enjoy and doing some that I have never done (such as mountain biking and skiing, so I am also looking forward to the skiing trip). I am also hoping to do Witney to Westminster, as that looks like a great experience. I am hoping to gain lots of qualifications in activities so that I can be an instructor later on. I would also like to gain confidence in leading group bible studies so that I can lead more groups in future.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Beth's DisTIL Year.

Hello, it's Beth and her is my final blog post all about my amazing year as part of the 2015/16 DisTIL team... 
I’ve grown a lot (not in height at all) this year, I’m more confident and more willing to step out further. I’ve learned a lot about myself and feel like I have a much clearer idea of where I’d like to go in the future. I’ve loved learning new things and being able to pass this on to others and being able to impact lives! 
I’ve also made some amazing friendships and unforgettable memories this year… so thank you to all the team who I am so grateful to have spent the last 11 months with! 
One of my favourite memories has to be my Birthday which I was lucky enough to share with Rachel. The day began with presents and pancakes for breakfast! Later that morning the A+ team all headed out to the river where we canoed before stopping for lunch and Birthday cake!  
The A+ ski trip is something I will always look back on, it was so good to be able to spend time in an incredible part of creation having loads of fun with quality people as well as being able to learn something completely new a the same time. 
I’ll also always remember the night we spent sleeping under tarps in the woods and being able to look up to the clear night sky and see the stars! 
Some of the funniest moments this year have happened in Elm Tree 1, the first being the night that Ben, Simon, Emily C and were rolling/jumping/sliding down the stairs on mattresses (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!) Another really funny time was when the residents of Elm Tree 1 dressed up in the Teletubbies costumes. 
I’ll always remember these fond and funny moments as well as so many others from a year that was one of the best of my life. I hope to able to come back to Adventure Plus and volunteer when I can and in several years from now I’d like to return to see how it’s changed and also how much the trees we planted have grown! 

More than anything else this year however, I have loved really being able to grow in faith.  My relationship with God has become so much stronger this year and I have learned to lean on him and trust that he has a plan and a purpose for me. The times spent with the DisTIL team in SI (Spiritual Input) and POD (Pocket of Discipleship) were a great opportunity to share and witness how much we've all changed and grown. Seeing the people I've come to care about and love this year develop so much has been a massive highlight for me. It’s been great to work in a really positive Christian environment where people are always looking out for you and pray with you, and where the thing that connects us all is our belief in God.
Next year I'll be joining Ben at Cogges Church on the youth work internship there. I'm really excited to use what I've learned about God and myself in the upcoming year as well as learning so much more! 
Thanks for reading, for the final time.. 
Peace Out, Beth. 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Claire's DisTIL Year.

Hello again, here is Claire's summary of her DisTIL year! 


"I can't believe a year has already come and gone so quickly. It has been such a great year and I have loved it so much! I have learnt many new skills, gained so much experience and confidence and made so many new friends.

Some of my favourite memories from the year are TA Ski - the whole week was so much fun and flying down the slopes (even in a purple teletubby costume!) was amazing. Most of my BEL walks stick in my mind. On one occasion we saw a green hunting group on horses and all their dogs, some deer, lots of geese, lots of massive puddles - some of which we had to walk through. Another occasion saw Ben giving us piggy-backs across a supposedly small river! I have also really enjoyed the School Residentials and the Total Adventure Holidays.
Next year I will be staying with A+ as an intern, which I am looking forward to. I can't wait to develop my new found skills and take on some new responsibilities."
Way back at the start of the year. 

River Fun. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Emily B's DisTIL Year.

Welcome back once again, were about half way through the blog posts from this years team. Here's what Emily B has to say about her DisTIL year.

Emily B.

"Going into DisTIL this time last year, I certainly didn’t know what I was letting myself in for. I’ve learnt so much more than I could ever expect, from rescuing canoes to leading dorm groups, as well as bike maintenance and finding out how God is working in my life. Some great friendships have also been made over the year, that in course have provided me with some unforgettable memories which will last a lifetime. 
Below is an A-Z of highlights/memorable moments from this year... 
Ashburnham hot chocolate
Ben’s bagel song Christmas dinner with Charles and Grace DisTIL does nativity Eight to twelves Total Adventure Fish and chips on Hastings beach Gravy on chocolate cake x2 (Ben…)
Half-four parkour Improvised river crossing vehicle JP’s custard documentary Kubb and BBQ’s Learning about the magic tractor My chair Napping on buses Opera by Ben Playing cards in the bistro Queuing at the ski lifts Riding on a skidoo Surviving Josh’s night hike Tarping under the stars Unexpected rainfall after incorrect weather forecast from James… Victory in sleeping lions Wild swimming X-ray with Beth Yellow car

Next year, I will be doing an internship with Adventure Plus, so I look forward to doing more training, gaining more experience, learning more about God and creating some more amazing memories."

When it snowed!


Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Rachel's Year with Adventure Plus!

As you may know Rachel was not officially a member of this years DisTIL team but nevertheless had joined in with a lot of the fun things we've been up too. Here's what she has to say about her internship year with Adventure Plus...


"Hello readers!

Here's a round up of my year in facts and figures (for those of you who don't like to read too much):

Number of events: 75 (including leading 15)

Days of training: 43

Number of different house mates: 9

Favourite activity to lead with a group: canoeing/bushcraft

Days in the office: 63
Days on the water: 28
Nights away: 41 (including 19 under canvas)
New qualifications: fencing, walking, first aid
In-house qualifications: 8
New skills gained: circus skills, rock climbing, fencing
Favourite event: Blake School Residential
Most memorable staff time: praying round the campfire at the end of Kent College residential
Unexpected highlight: white water kayaking (despite being petrified the first time I now do it in my spare time!)
Most enjoyable moment: staff canoe paddle on the Thames for mine and Beth's birthday!
Number of capsizes: now that would be telling!
Greatest achievement: pushing Emily B into Ashburnham lake
Funniest moment: Emily C falling into a bush at Ashburnham while trying to put a canoe onto the trailer
Next year: staying at A+!
Looking forward to: having some time off to go sailing, then welcoming the new DisTIL team

And for those of you who do like to read, here's a summary of my year in 267 words:

September 2015 seems like a long time ago, yet the year also seems to have flown by! We've crammed a lot in - from training days to birthdays celebrated in style on the river, coaching DisTIL paddling skills to leading events all over the country. It's been busy, but also fun, faith-filled and an adventure.

A+ has seen quite a bit of staffing change this year, with several people leaving for pastures new, and also new ones joining our team. But I guess it's the change in ourselves which is often harder to see; it's been an incredible privilege to be a part of everyone's faith journeys - particularly the DisTIL team’s during SI (Spiritual Input; meeting most Thursday mornings together). It's also been amazing to see people growing in things like confidence and leadership ability. I seem to have avoided answering the question of how I've changed over the year..! Having already lived in a Christian community for a year, I sort of knew what I was letting myself in for living and working with the same people! Starting as someone who already a few qualifications but not very much experience in leading them, it was good to put into practice what I'd learned, as well as learning how A+ runs: on events and behind the scenes in the office. Progressing on to leading events later in the year was a new challenge but a good one. God has been an amazing constant through the year, and I'm looking forward to growing more in my faith as well as seeing others do the same over the coming year.
Thanks for reading!"
River Birthday Twins.

Teletubbie Day.