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Hollowford Day 4

Activities days are all about trying new things and challenging yourself to do just a little bit more, and today was certainly a day of challenges. As one of the boys from Laxfield said, “You can’t be brave if you’re not scared.” And today, we have had lots of very brave children.

Scroll through the photos below and you will see Charles overcoming his nerves and climbing to the top of the high wires, then balancing precariously on the top of the wobbly ‘Leap of Faith’ pole. It is no mean feat – up there the ground seems very far away, the wind whistles past your ears, your heart pounds in your chest and your legs feel like jelly. Why we put children through this terrifying ordeal is a bit of a mystery really, but, my goodness they made us feel proud for doing so, and hopefully learnt a small lesson about what they are capable of along the way. Grace, Alyssa, Megan and Jessica (who discovered her inner-guinea-pig the moment she left the ground and squealed her way through all of the challenges) were amongst those who managed the Leap of Faith despite feeling terrified beforehand. Well done them. Others don’t make it to the top of the pole, but nonetheless are able to push themselves to the limit of their comfort zone: step forward Lewis who balanced his way to the very top of the wobbly pole before dangling his way to the bottom. Others still seem to have no fear at all as they climb the ropes: it seems as if Billy, Dylan and Sam were born to it – they’re obviously able to channel their inner apes! However they managed it, we are proud of them all.

This morning, Miss Hunt’s group with Lydia and Rosanna, and Miss Cragoe’s group, with Evie, Kira and Zoe each built a raft. Both teachers were tremendously impressed with their groups’ teamwork and all the children enjoyed the races. Well done Evie, Kira and Zoe who won the dash around the island in the middle and back again. Incredibly, neither team’s boat sank, so neither of them got wet – but, of course, they all celebrated by jumping in.

Evie’s name was also mentioned this afternoon as someone who is fearless – she had been weaselling and attempted every challenge. The bruises on her knees and shins are testament to the amount of crawling and squeezing she had done.

This morning Jessica, Isaac, Jacob and Megan went down Bagshawe Cavern for some squishing and squeezing of their own. I was so impressed with Isaac and Jessica who were not keen, but who battled their nerves and went through every tiny hole and tunnel. Amazing. Whilst down there, we all turned out our lights for about ten minutes and sat in total darkness – an eerie experience. We also took the opportunity to conduct the polo experiment. Did you know that when you snap a polo in two, it emits a tiny flash of light? We do, because with our eyes adjusted to the pitch black, we saw the mini blue flash.

This evening has been the room inspections, and Fressingfield won both the boys and girls prizes for the tidiest rooms – top bananas! Then, the highlight of the whole week –Hollowford’s Got Talent. We had a rich and varied line up this year, with singing, comedy, land-swimming, gymnastics, karate and dance. Well done Megan who came second with her friend Charlie with a lovely gymnastics routine, and well done all who competed including Jacob, Lydia, Rosanna, Kira and Jessica.

It has been a fantastic week, and the activities are just one part of the greater challenge – that of coming so far away from home for so long. We have had quite a few homesick children this week who have battled on and enjoyed themselves despite missing home. This has got much easier as the week has gone on of course, but we are all now looking forward to our own beds, lots of cuddles with mums and dads and a relaxing weekend. I hope when they reflect on their week they will feel proud of all their achievements. Mrs Stansfeld and I certainly are.