So, it turns out that a full day of bubbling-up and then exploding excitement at the end of a long period of lockdown, mixed with intense heat, a late night and the chance to try new things, makes it hard for children to sleep...who knew?
It wasn't the easiest of nights but we've adapted our arrangements to ensure that everyone has access to a cool bed if the heat is a problem again tonight: our accommodation is literally in two halves - one side roasts, while the other has wind whistling through the windows. Either way, I suspect we will have an easier night of it as the pace has once again been pretty high today. But, just as the demands on the children increase, so does the resilience, inner strength and opportunity to think back to our school value of 'determination'...and how we are seeing so much of it.
I like to think of myself as a kind human being, and the care of my children (well...your children actually) sits at the top of my priority list, so the fact that I quite like to see them fall over sometimes seems something at odds to my core values. But, I'm also a Batman fan and as Bruce Wayne's father says: 'Why do we fall down? So, we can learn to pick ourselves up again!' Well, it was skiing again for the children here at Calshot, and boy did they fall over in style.
Some were challenged by the rope lift going up the slope, others by the power of gravity. There were a few tears...there will definitely be some sore behinds, but not one of them gave up and not one of them moaned about it. There is a lot of strength in these giraffes and today they made me a very proud teacher.
Here are a few of the highlights from the day we have had:
Ciara appears to be a secret assassin, scoring 4 out of 5 hits in the centre of the target during shooting - and it's less than an inch in diameter and shot from 10 metres). It was the most impressive hit rate of the day.
Tommy set the highest score of the day however, through consistently hitting all of the high scoring rings and achieving a total of 127 out of a possible 150 - incredible! The photo tells you how pleased he was of himself.
Erin didn't want to shoot at first but then put in an incredible two rounds and was clearly pleased with herself for persevering.
In the skiing, Millie took a tumble on the rope lift but some simple distracting (I told her to think of her sisters doing something silly) and she was up there in no trouble and clearly proud of herself. Millie was also a supestar in the shooting, starting with a 0 in the first round, then with some fabulous focus, she hit the high thirties in the second - best improvement of the day.
Megan also took a bit of a bump on the slopes but, once again, sheer grit and determination shone through.
Theo was brilliantly determined too today, and listened so well to the instructor, to make it half-way up the slope and down on his own...it was a fabulous thing to see and I hope he knows how proud we are of him.
Aerotrek, a high-ropes obstacle course, also saw it's fair share of children overcoming fears today. Harrison bravely stepped out onto the course and made it to the first platform. He did return at this point, but to his great credit, and with some wonderful support of his friends, he hooked on again and went for it one more time. It was brilliant to see, and great to have the chance to remind the children that it takes as much strength to admit to ourselves when we have reached our limits, as it does to have the strength to keep trying to push through them.
Georgie was amazing on Aerotrek too, putting 100% into each of the challenges and recovering brilliantly (and with that trademark smile) after slipping off the 'Genga' bridge. Note to parents: she was fully harnessed in and loved every second.
Team swing next. This was one of the activities that I've brought into our week as I have seen it develop team spirit as well as help children overcome their fear of heights at many residentials...and it didn't fail us here this year: Both James and Conor expressed their worries about the height of the swing before they had really seen it. Sadly, I wasn't there to witness it for myself, but the way they all came running in as a group to tell me how the boys had 'gone to the top' showed that it clearly meant something to all of them.
It's hard to believe we are only on day two. The way the children have pushed themselves and pulled together to keep their team-mates positive has been a delight to see and the growth in the group has been phenomenal. As I write to you now, I can see a few of the children (including Livie, Imogen and Paris in one group; Max, Ella, Eddie and Connie in another) rushing around the centre looking for answers to one of the quiz rounds. It's a slightly different pace to the rest of the day but they are as happy doing this, as all of the other activities of the day.
Soon we will return to the 'house' for hot chocolate and biscuits as we watch the sun set over Fawley power station (so what if it's not quite paradise) and then sleep...PLEASE!!
Quote of the day from Casper, 'Mr G, can you turn the sun down please?' If I can't be Batman, but I could have a superpower, I'd have taken that one for the day!
I hope you enjoy the photos.