Friday, 8 April 2016

TA Easter ‘16 blog post

Hello blog followers!

The 29th of March saw the return of Total Adventure Easter, an adventure holiday camp for ages 8-11 over a course of 4 days (with the option to camp the night between the last two days).
Over the 4 days, Adventure Plus ran Fencing, Archery, Climbing, Bushcraft, Arts & Crafts, a Tricky Trail biking course, a treasure hunt, a pretty hectic wide game and a pretty awesome bonfire on the Windmill Farm site, with Kayaking and Canoeing down at Standlake.
So where do I begin to tell you about this crazy week jam-packed with laughs, fun, learning and excitement? I guess I’ll have to start at the very beginning; Monday 28th
The TA team consisting of Simon, JP, Ben, Marc, Emily B, Beth, James Foxton, Margaret, Saskia and Claudia met to discuss the week’s itinerary as well going over various paperwork. We also had to set up as much of the activities as possible, which meant a trip to Standlake for JP, Simon and Ben to get the canoes and kayaks ready. The rest of us were left to establish a Tricky Trail course, the Archery range, the Fencing arena, the Climbing wall and anything else relating to other things that would be going on that week (PA stuff, laptops and roadshow equipment etc…) luckily it was a beautiful evening!
On Tuesday morning I personally woke up very excited, not just because I was going kayaking in the afternoon, but because we were soon to be meeting the youngsters, getting to know them whilst providing games and activities to make them enjoy themselves as well as helping them make new friends. 
After the kids arrived and registered, we moved into team time. JP and myself headed up team 1 (the boy’s team who justly and deservedly got the most points over the week, but that’ll come later on in this post). Team time was an opportunity to get to know more about each other as well as play some games and have discussions about the previous night’s ‘Road Show’ and a little about God & Church. Our team really engaged well over the week and I’m they’ll have lots of good memories to treasure from it.
Next, we moved into ‘Adverts & Sign up’, an opportunity to show the kids a little of the activities that we were running that day and then the chance for them to sign up for whichever took their fancy. As I was on Canoeing & Kayaking all day, I threw on my buoyancy aid, jumped on James’ back and paddled around the room waffling on about water, sharks and how much fun paddling out on the lake would be.
Um we might be missing something here.....
The LT minibus was already rammed full of gear and the boat trailers were waiting for us, so we rounded up the kids and their kit, and then headed off for the morning. The journey there was full of great singing along to the radio by the kids and some what can only be described as wailing from me.
After teaching them some forwards paddling and how to steer the canoes, we headed off to a stiller, more sheltered part of the lake to avoid being blown across to the other side and into the reeds. The canoe session involved some spinning races, a game of ‘head, shoulders, knees and jump’ and the popular ‘fruit salad.’
Minibus Antics
Following lunch time and tuck shop, we moved into our afternoon activities. For me and JP, that meant a trip back to the lake for some kayaking. Kayaking was brilliant, simply because all the kids wanted to do was capsize their boats and go for a swim! We started with a little journey, getting the kids used to paddling and helping them out when they got caught up in the reeds. We then moved into another team based game before the swimming session. I’m not sure some of them expected the water to be as cold as it was which led to a couple of kids clinging onto our kayaks being towed to the bank. I’m sure we were both glad we stayed dry that afternoon! After fishing out six upside-down, full of water and abandoned kayaks, we made it back to Windmill Farm just in time for the Road Show.  
Safe, Enjoyable, Learning at its best
This began with a photo slideshow, personal highlights from the kids before a team challenge, the results of the days ‘photo challenge’ and then a chance to look at what God is saying to us. The talks were based on the theme ‘Space’, so on the first day Beth told us about how big God is. Second day, JP explained: ‘How does having space in our lives affect us?’, Third day, Ben covered: ‘Can god only be found in a church?’, and lastly, Emily B told us about: ‘Why should we let God into our lives?’.
Road Show talk time!
The second day was much the same except for a few of us A+ staff changed activities. For me, I had another brilliant and fun canoe session in the morning before joining James F for some Bushcraft in the afternoon. Due to the 1 hour sessions, we stuck to teaching the kid’s fire lighting and keeping a fire alive. To reward them for their excellent fire lighting skills, marshmallows were toasted/set on fire and hot chocolate was made for them while the leaders stuck to coffee. The marshmallows seemed to go down quite quickly (no surprise) but at least they went to good homes!
Please don't fall in!!!!
The third day (Wednesday), held two more successful Bushcraft sessions in the morning, followed by Archery for both me and James. In all four sessions the kids put all their effort into learning new skills and developing ones they already had. In the archery session, we played ‘Lemon Drizzle Cake’; We briefed them that my mother’s famous lemon drizzle cake had been smuggled into some balloons that were blown up and pinned to the targets. In order to free the yummy treats, you had to shoot arrows at the balloons. Upon bursting a balloon, one would drop to their knees, throw their hands in the air and scream at the top of their lungs “I SAVED THE LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE”. Needless to say, lots of cake was freed and my eardrums took a lot of abuse that afternoon, but it was amazing to see the kids do well and be happy with their achievements.

We also offered the option to camp out on the field that night. So following an amazing camp fire (I’ll come back to this), they got ready for bed, then headed into the conference hall to watch the Pixar classic ‘Wall-E’ before heading off to their tents for the night. The camp fire was everything and more. It was a great opportunity to have some laughs and sing some ridiculously silly yet amusing songs. Simons hosting skills were on point, and as ever, his rendition of the Bubble-gum song was an absolute hit. (If you ever meet Simon Bell, ask him to demonstrate the bubble-gum song). The best pictures from the fire and the week can be found on the TA Facebook page, I recommend having a look!

Friday saw the conclusion of TA Easter 2016 but not before more activities, games, laughs, a treasure hunt, a final Road Show and a very eventful breakfast in the dining hall. On Thursday we had a birthday boy, and Friday we had a birthday girl so during the breakfast, Ben did his birthday interpretive dance (copies of the video are available from me) whilst everyone sang. Mine and Ben’s tricky trail sessions went smoothly and safely, the kids seemed to enjoy trying to better their fastest times and they all did really well at it! As ever, we had some crashes but nothing to serious and we moved into the afternoon injury free (thank you God!).

The final afternoon was a great work out for the kids. We had a treasure hunt over the whole of the Windmill Farm site, followed by a break, and then a large game of Barnyard Scramble. For those who haven’t played this game, you basically have three teams (Chickens, Foxes and Snakes) attached to a home base each. The chickens have to catch snakes and take them to the chicken base, the foxes catch chickens and snakes catch foxes. As you can probably guess, it involved a lot of running and some amazing diving tags on opponents. I myself was victim of what can only be described as catch of the day from eleven year old Kyle. Either way, there was lots of fun had by all or we seemed to tire all of them out before returning them to their parents!
The A (+) Team 
After the kids had gone, the only things left to do were clean, eat Domino’s pizza (courtesy of James F) and sleep. It was great to be part of a great week and such a great team and I hope to be a part of the 2017 team as well!

Until next time,









Marc

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