Saturday, September 22, 2007

kielder challenge

Back home after four days in the Kielder Forest, Northumberland.
The bare facts are that our team (four pupils from our school working with four pupils with severe learning or physical disabilities from Fosseway School) finished a great 10th out of 287 teams who entered this wonderful annual national event.
These young people demonstrated impressive teamwork, communication and huge enthusiasm in dealing with six (pretty complicated!) problem-solving tasks but, much more importantly, they learnt an awful lot about themselves, about relationships, about the needs of others and about learning to value their own abilities and those of other people - in short, an amazing, humbling and inspirational few days which, I feel sure, have already started to influence a number of lives (young and not so young!).
Key personal memories:
1. Lots of “chats” with a young boy named Ryan, who had severe speech problems (plus lots of other issues) and learning to “sign” various names – including “Doc” (one of our team members) – but also eventually succeeding in getting him to say “Oc” (for Doc!), which was a really great moment. Unfortunately, he then went around saying “Oc! Oc! Oc! Oc!” ALL the time and it was just like having our own pet seal!
2. Being “volunteered” by our team to take part in one of the extra “fun” challenges and ended up having several gallons of water poured over my head and getting absolutely soaked!
3. Ending up with my camera not working (due to the wet weather?) and fearing that the problem might be terminal!

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