What a difference a few days make. Monday night we couldn't get the children to sleep and this morning we couldn't get them to wake up. They are coming back to you slightly exhausted tomorrow but, more importantly, taller of stature and more full of confidence after what has been one of my most enjoyable residentials. My enjoyment being measured by two things: how much fun we have and how much I see your children develop.
We couldn't have asked more of the Calshot staff, who put together a fantastic schedule of activities despite the restrictions placed on them (and fed us well). We couldn't have asked more from the weather, welcoming us with warmth at the start, holding off for the kayaking, and now, as the rain beats the windows of our home for one more night, making us less sad about leaving.
Above all of that, we couldn't have asked more of the Giraffe Class of 2020/2021, who have been determined, motivated, supportive, motivational, noisy (some things don't change), empathetic, warm and fun-loving.
Today is our last full day and our last evening away from home, but I have a very strong feeling that it won't be the last time they think about Calshot or all that they have achieved here. Today has also been our unofficial bad-joke day and I have to say, there have been some rotters.
So, this is the final blog. I hope you have been able to get a sense of our week here and I hope you have enjoyed the photos. But as it is our last night, I'm keeping it brief so I can spend just a little more time with the children this evening. It's Epic Engineering tonight, so a chance for more collaboration...or maybe a few early nights.
Our final highlights:
Noah stayed brilliantly cool during today's team swing, even getting in to the lotus position to prove how relaxed he was (but was he so relaxed on the inside I wonder!). He also hit the inner yellow target in archery, but I sadly didn't get to take a picture of it actually happening - sorry mum and dad.
Paris rose to the challenge of Aerotrek today, pushing herself around the course on the first try with encouragement and some 'wobbles' and then getting around the second time with great confidence.
Sonny B has shown us this week just how much he has matured, with his quiet confidence, his positive attitude and his sense of humour shining through each day.
Hanna: I have really enjoyed being at Calshot and I am really proud because I pushed myself further on things I generally didn't want to do.
Max showed us, in a nice way of course, his competitive side today during the archery, setting himself a goal of hitting the yellow and beating my score. His face when he landed the arrow in the middle of the board said it all.
Ella: I am proud of getting to the top of the climbing wall because I felt like I was going to fall but I faced my fear and I am very happy.
Imogen: I really enjoyed doing the kayaking because the games we played were really fun and if we got stuck, we had to work together to get out.
William showed me that he always listens and tries to learn from advice he is given when, during the orienteering, he was clearly eager to lead his but he took a step back to let others take charge. This is such a great sign of a mature understanding of collaboration from someone who is destined to be a leader some day.
Connie: I'm proud of when I did the Aerotrek because I felt wobbly and a bit scared but after some encouragement I succeeded and it was so much fun.
Sonny W was really proud of himself for the great improvement he showed during the different rounds of archery. He showed great listening skills and tried everything that was suggested of him. He also had an amazing morning spotting all of the markers in orienteering.
Cameron has fought through the hayfever, showing us great determination to try everything with his 'knowing' smile, he lovely sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye.
Ella has been quietly confident through the week, giving her all to every activity, but more than anything she has given us great entertainment too, and she has helped us all keep smiling.
Elliot showed how much of a good friend he is when giving great support to Theo on the team swing. His wonderful words of encouragement made a real difference. Elliot has been great all week, showing us that he has inner-strengths we don't always see at school.
Priya has shown us all how calm she is in all circumstances, approaching every activity with confidence, listening well and being a friend to those who need a bit of encouragement.
Eddie made great improvements in the archery, going from not being able to hold the bow correctly in the first round, to scoring really well in further rounds. Another example of really good listening skills and determination.
And now, the final words from some of your children:
Sonny B: I enjoyed the kayaking the most because Casper and I sang Moana and Total Eclipse of the Heart as we enjoyed the activity.
Phoebe: I have really enjoyed all of Calshot but my favourite activity was the Aerotrek. I tried to push myself to complete the course without using my hands and it was really fun.
Harvey: I have enjoyed everything at Calshot but my favourite activity has been the skiing because I have never done it before and I learned so much that I didn't know.
Elliot: I really liked the skiing because we got to start at the top of the hill and it was great fun.
Izzy: I'm really proud of myself because when I capsized in kayaking, I didn't cry I just laughed - it was also great fun.
Sonny W: I really enjoyed the whole experience and all of the activities but also the laughs outside of the activities, so it was generally amazing.
Max: When I was doing the bouldering activity, Mr G said that I flew across the wall, and when we played the 'shark' game, I won.
We will see you tomorrow when your peace and quiet comes to an end.