I write on returning back from an overnight camp with our Year 11 students. An incredible 37 students have chosen to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and were completing their final expedition for the Bronze Award over the Easter weekend. I would like to say that I completed the fully-laden hike with them, however as I was accompanied by my two young daughters I felt that it would have been too much for them (well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!). What a pleasure it was to be around such lovely young people; my daughters were made to feel like part of the group immediately – a testimony to the sense of community and responsibility our students have. After pitching tents there was a huge game of football, followed by frisbee and cricket. After supper – a range of dehydrated camp-meal derivatives – we headed over to the fire pit for camp fire songs (more Kaiser Chiefs than kumbaya!) and stories, plus the odd minor hysterics around errant embers from the fire and a giant rat (tiny field mouse). The Tipton choir were in fine voice!
A freezing night under canvas (polypropylene?) and while the noise and distractions of the countryside didn’t lend themselves to the best night’s sleep for all, nevertheless all were up, packed and off on time the next morning for day 2. True resilience.
I believe that there are some things about young people’s development that are difficult to measure and assess. The experience of spending time with a lovely group of people who are kind, generous, thoughtful and incredibly witty is one that one doesn’t forget quickly. Immeasurable!
A massive thank you to the staff who gave up their Bank Holiday to make this a special experience and thanks in equal measure to all the students who made this a wonderful experience for my daughters and for me.