The children slept soundly despite the rain last night and woke up not unreasonably early. By 8am they were ready for the first of three huge cooked meals – no-one here ever goes hungry!
A quick game of pool and table football was squeezed in by some before the first activity of the day, which, for Group 1 was the Air Jump. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there to observe it, but I do know that the children (Ella, Jayden, Thomas, Imogen, Calum and Ethan) did brilliantly (photos of this will follow tomorrow). Ella, despite claiming she is terrified of heights, jumped from the very highest level – 8 metres – as did Kieran. Others overcame their nerves to push themselves higher and higher. When I saw them all again at lunchtime, they were buzzing.
Meanwhile, Group 2 set out to learn about survival in the wild with a lesson on Bushcraft Skills. The first task was to gather kindling, one-finger sticks and two-finger sticks as fuel for our fires. The children learnt that the best wood to collect to get the fire started is silver birch as it is full of oils. A flint and steel was used to get the fire started and, once it was burning well, everyone was given marshmallows to toast. Kettles of water were heated up next as we kept adding more and more sticks to feed the flames. Once the water was boiling, we had cups of hot chocolate. Next we learnt how to make a lean-to shelter using two Y-sticks and lots of other poles. Great armfuls of fallen pine needles were used to make the shelter cosy and waterproof – although not entirely so, as Ivy found to her cost when a bucket of water was thrown onto it to simulate a storm. Her spot didn’t seem to be very waterproof at all.
The afternoon saw the start of two new adventures, which for Group 1 was an epic hike called The Journey. The route took them into Sheringham (where they stopped for an ice-cream at a shop with an enormous range of flavours), along the beach, up the hill to the clifftop and back to the centre. The walk took almost the entire three hours allotted to it, with very few breaks for breathers. For some, this was a real challenge, and they arrived back at the centre dusty, exhausted – as if they had just trekked across the Himalayas – but ultimately satisfied and proud of themselves. For others, it was really just a walk in the park – literally.
Group 2’s afternoon was spent climbing, balancing, wobbling, jumping and dangling – lots of dangling – many metres in the air. The High Ropes are fantastic at Hilltop and the leaders were amazing – kind, supportive, encouraging and brilliant at helping the children meet and then exceed the targets they set themselves. The photos speak for themselves, but special mention must go to Aniek, Ivy and Autumn who completed the lean-back challenge on the top of the wobbly telegraph pole, to Ruby who conquered both the catwalk and the wobbly log, to Lexi, Bailey and Shawn who started with the incredibly high acrobat’s leap onto the trapeze bar and Lily, who also completed the wobbly lean-back trust challenge on the top of a high pole with two children from Laxfield whom she had only met the day before. So, that’s the whole group who need special mention really.
This evening we enjoyed a swim in the pool for half an hour and a quick game of rounders, before the highlight of the day – the Room Inspections. Somewhat predictably, the standard of tidiness was somewhat different between the girls and the boys – and I don’t think I need to say who’s was the best… the girls, obviously. However, both groups of boys had made efforts and neither of their rooms was actually squalid. The girls though, were at a different level: bunches of flowers had been picked to decorate the windowsills, a little shrine of teddies had been arranged, everyone’s things were beautifully ordered and organised, and a welcoming committee were on hand to welcome the Room Inspectors in. So well done Fressingfield girls for coming in a very creditable third place.
And now they are all in bed asleep and I’ve been really pleased with the way they have settled themselves.
I’m afraid I wasn’t able to get photos of Group 1’s activities today, so will need to upload those tomorrow. I’m sorry if you can’t see your child, but please rest assured they are enjoying themselves immensely.