Brecon Beacons Blog
Up to now, the blogs have been written by the children each evening. So we thought today, as we head for home, it would be nice to hear things from the teachers’ point of view.
Well, what can I say…it’s been an amazing experience for all involved! As we embark on our journey home, I will be thinking of all the fun we have had this week in Brecon. It’s been really lovely spending time with our wonderful year 6 classes. From seeing the encouragement towards each other whilst in some sticky situations (the climbing wall or the zip wire), to witnessing the incredible talent that we have at St Gregory’s which was displayed in our ‘Acorn’s Got Talent’ on the final night. I am overwhelmed with pride for these children who made this residential fantastic!
We left on our adventure full of excitement! We arrived with rain and encountered mud, and it stayed like that… for a few days. But I did not stop watching the children with amazement as they adapted to their new lifestyle. It wasn’t easy for them (or us!) but they went full steam ahead, doing activities that some of the children found very difficult. Yet they cracked on and achieved things they didn’t believe they could do, which made us all feel so proud. Seeing the joy on their faces was truly magical. I hope they treasure this adventure as they go on to pastures new.
I think it is fair to say that the first night was difficult (it usually is on trips like this) with lots of noise and children not settling particularly quickly. But since then I have been genuinely proud of all of them as they have faced challenges and worked together to overcome difficulties and fears. Even the Acorn staff have commented (a few times), impressed by how the children have encouraged and supported each other. They see hundreds of children so for them to comment like this really means something.
There have been several instances where children had decided that they were not going to do one of the activities, but with the aforementioned encouragement and a lot of determination, they have faced and defeated their fears and done things that they never thought they could.
I also know that several children have found it difficult to be away from home and have really missed their families. Even so, they have enjoyed the activities (even the tiring ones) and I think they have all been thankful that they have managed to make it until the end.
Let’s get down to business (and begin in true Miss Jackson fashion with a Disney quote)…. When I first agreed to accompany 49 children on a ‘glamping’ trip to Wales, I was full of excitement for all of the fun and joy which comes from experiencing young people try out new pursuits, in beautiful countryside. Then I discovered it was camping. In actual tents. I am not a camper. However, I decided I just had to get on with it, just like the children. The first night in camp was somewhat of a cacophony of chatter, laughter and screaming, despite a long day of travelling and getting settled in. Two hours sleep did not give me much hope for an enjoyable week. However, the children turned this around almost instantly the next morning and one of my most happy moments was the sound of every single child asleep by 10:20 p.m. the next night!!
It has been so special to witness the most incredible teamwork between the children, particularly during activities in need of some serious courage. What has surprised me the most, though, is the children’s accommodating nature in ensuring I got wet, cold and grumpy during canoeing. Ironically enough, despite having done lots of water sports as a teenager, I was the most petrified. The children decided this was a perfect excuse to rock my boat, splash me with water and genuinely double my heart rate.
In spite of this, because of the children’s sheer determination and willingness to just have a go at anything, this gave me the inspiration to do canoeing for a second time yesterday and it was probably the most calm and smiley I’ve been all week.
It has been the greatest privilege to witness so much friendship and so many smiles and laughs. The children are a credit to St Gregory’s with their helpfulness, thoughtfulness and entertaining nature. At school I don’t teach year 6 so I barely knew the children a week ago but can very sincerely say I shall miss them greatly when they move on to their next adventures.
Well, we have been on an adventure! ALL the children have been out of their comfort zones and were determined to do an activity that challenged them! They have built and blossomed (or, weathered should we say) over the last five days and have made me feel so proud of what they have achieved and how they work together as a team! I really have had the best experience while being on my first residential, and I definitely have the memories to treasure.
This has been my first residential since my lower school days, so it’s been a long time since I’ve had an experience like this; most certainly it has been my first time ‘on the other side!’ Yes, it was ridiculously wet and muddy on the first few days. Yes, it was a tad on the noisy side the first night. Indeed, I don’t even enjoy camping! Yet still I can honestly say I have LOVED this trip.
I have been with these children since September and I still believe I have bonded with them more this week than I have before. They are all such amazing characters and have made me very proud of them in so many ways. The teamwork and bravery they have displayed on the various activities has been a sight to behold. It is safe to say that there were a few moments where I shed a little tear over their achievements (and Mrs. H can back me up on that!). They may have failed in their aims to get me to do the Zip-line (although they gave it their best!), but the endless encouragement and support they have given each other to push themselves out of their comfort zones, to do things they never dreamed they could do, should make them all feel very proud of themselves.
A personal highlight of mine was doing the hill walk twice, giving the children a real WOW moment when they saw the view from the top. I suppose coming second in ‘Acorn’s Got Talent’ with Miss Ulyatt and Miss Jackson wasn’t too shabby either!
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