Monday, 13 December 2010

November has been and gone... what have the DisTIL team been up to?

November has been and gone but it was a busy month in the A+ office (you would not have thought it was winter!) Bookings were appearing all over the shot creating the busiest weekend in November ever!!!

As a DisTIL team we continued our 2 Star Kayak and Canoe Training on the 10th and 18th November, which gave us the opportunity to learn a few new strokes, like the Canadian and Indian stroke and the box stroke which causes the boat to move in a circle on the spot. It was a great two days gaining more experience but also gave John-Luke the chance to see how our training was going and how close to our 2 Star goal we are. The outcome was that we are all nearly 2 Star paddlers just a bit more practice and our assessment to go.

On the 12th November we had a booking which was exciting and scary but so much fun on the day. We were working with a number of special needs schools for the day running activities for them, creating a new stimulant for the children. It was an awesome day! The children were amazing, their attitude towards the activities was great to see and their excitement in completing an activity was inspiring. It was a fantastic experience to have and I think I can speak for the whole team when I say can we do it again please!! Please can we work with more special needs children there amazing!!

So to the Busiest weekend - on November the 19th and 20th together we had five bookings!! It was just a little crazy trying to make sure we had instructors and volunteers on the right book
ings. I'm sure I was told at one point it was suddenly realised that there was no driver on one of the bookings which would have made getting there a little bit more fun!! That quickly changed! Each of the bookings went really well, building relationships within the groups we were working with (even if this involved a lot of mud from head to toe!) and with the groups themselves.

Training never ends for the DisTIL Team! On the 26th November Josh and Jonny took us though the Tricky Trail course. It was a great morning though it was cold and a little icy. Going over speed bumps, up and over ramps, in between slalom cones/poles, over two balance beams, wiggling in between cones, limboing on a bike, over a see saw and of course before you can do all of these things you need to be able to stop in the stop box! Now just spending a morning on a bike was not good enough so we then planned and went on a bike recce in the afternoon, taking it in turns to lead different parts of the ride. It was a good afternoon which gave us the chance to extend our training from BOB. Thank you Josh and Jonny; please can we play again soon? :)

Now one of my questions at the start of the year was:
What does it take for an outdoor instructor to stay inside?
Well I think I have found the answer - Severe Weather Warnings! As our BCU Coach Level 1 was postponed due to the Met office stating that between the 30th Nov-3rd Dec was to be extremely cold and snowy. However even though the course was cancelled it did not mean we were not going to end up on a lake in Canoes and Kayaks that week! As our good friend Lester had arranged to help with the running of the course he could not really change his plans so instead we continued our two star training with him in the snow on the 30th. It was an experience for sure, canoeing and kayaking in the snow but i still prefer the pool session we had that evening to the was warm for a start! :)

Due to the sad cancellation of the level 1 we had to find other things to do which is off course a hard task. So when the suggestion of CLIMBING at Brookes came up we did not know what to do with ourselves other than get really excited! On the 2nd December we spent the day at Brookes university climbing walls and bouldering room. We started the day in the bouldering area clambering around and falling off the wall. Rachel developed an amazing technique for this the fall, ball, roll, it was effective and very amusing to watch.

Now when there are crash mats and Rachel the need to practice Rugby tackles occurs. I lost count how many people ended up on the floor. Once we had exhausted the bouldering room, we moved onto top rope climbing (the far more sensible option I think cause there is a rope involved!!) All Climbs are graded depending on the difficulty, which brings out the competitive streak in people (which is all in good fun). John-Luke and Sarah are often the two main contenders for this, both having to match each others climbing grade (well i think this came more from John-Luke!)

At lunch John-Luke mentioned the phrase 'lead climbing' and offered to introduce us to it. We all entered with optimism and fear as you looked up to see how high the walls were!! We went though how to clip in, fall and belay someone who was leading, then we all started to have a go one at a time.

This was a gradual process but once we got going it was a lot of fun leading and seconding climbs. It was awesome and, I might add, a little scary when you realise you're clipping your own rope in and, if you get it wrong and fall, there could be a lot of pain involved BUT surpassing this lead climbing is epic so I recommend trying it out! Can we go again soon please John-Luke? :)

Now there are some activities which are not stopped by the snow and biking is one of them. So on the 3rd Dec me, Josh and Jonny went out on a recce for Prestwood school. The ride was meant to be 17 miles but got cut down when we went around the route and came across hills which were going to be too much for the guys to manage. (They were steep! I'm so glad we did not have to ride up them). The Ride involved off road and on road track, up and down hill which, in the snow, was hair raising fun but so scary going down hill at speed off road in the snow and ice is quite alarming if you're not in control of your bike! We saw some amazing sights like deer prancing across fields, ponds covered so much in snow you could not tell they were ponds anymore and fire double the height of a 6 foot man. It was mind blowing. Now whenever you go out anywhere with Jonny 'dares' are a normal occurrence at some point. On this particular ride we came across a bull. Josh had the idea to dare Jonny to sit on top of the bull! Now for anyone wondering he did not manage it however he did pat the bull and touch his tail, which was entertaining to watch. Who says biking in the snow and ice is boring?! Thanks for an entertaining and icy afternoon Josh and Jonny. I learned a lot even if I had a few disagreements with my bike (it really did not want me to stay on it!)

Now an important part of Adventure Plus is taking phone calls. As much as this sounds very basic, transferring calls and taking messages is key and can be quite confusing when there is a range of phones in the office which all work differently! To make it easier for us, on the 6th December, we had phone training. A morning of learning what to say etc and the buttons you need to use to transfer people plus a live call just to test us. We all passed so now it's for real!

As I'm sure you're aware we're all now three months into our gap year meaning its 1 -1 time! which can appear scary but in fact its just a chat with John-Luke which can go on for as long as you make it (an hour or two) but if you want to beat the record you need to talk for over three days! The aim of this chat is just a general overview of how we have each found the last few months i.e. training, home life, work, faith stuff and how we can each challenge ourselves over the next few months. Sadly no one managed to beat the record but there is always time for that :)

I think this brings us all up to date with the goings on of the last month. Please continue to pray for us as we come to the end of our first three months looking forward into the new year :) Along with our next adventure 'OUT THERE IN HIM' in the Peak and Lake District I can't wait!!

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