Well I am back from my week away with the kids at The Outward Bound Trust and what a hell of a week it was!
To start it is a good four hour run blasting through some of the best roads North Wales could throw up and offer so I arrived with a grin on my face. That was soon wiped off when along with the other mentors we were taken around and asked to take part in a couple of the activities the kids would be aske to do during the week. No problem eh I am a grown man so what could they ask me to do that would be scary if they expected teenagers to so it.
They threw up a 30 foot high telegraph pole that you were to climb then stand on top of. Not too bad you are thinking right? Wrong. A 30 foot telegraph pole sways and wobbles when you are stood on top of it shaking so badly you look like you are dancing to techno music. Still once there the worse thing to do would be to come back down…the only way you are going to be doing that is by jumping from your perch to grab onto the trapeze swing dangling a few feet away at the same height as you.
That was my first change of pants.
All you had to do then while dangling on your swing was to trust your new found friends had tied the rope knots right and let go of the only thing you had hold off with a grip like death itself. Once swinging I have to say the view was pretty impressive though because until that point you had seen nothing but the red of terror in your eyes!
The kids had to do this…and they did it better than me!
160 teenagers turned up in a manic 20 minute window who were then told to get changed and do a “jog & Dip”. Whenever I say “the kids” this ALWAYS includes me…I had to do everything they did. Well I didn’t “have to” but it was expected and there was no way I was letting a bunch of hormone addled spotty kids think I was scared….I was crapping myself at times.
Anyway the jog & dip was a short half mile run, the last time I ran anywhere was with a large Doberman hard at my heels, to the sea where we promptly stood in a circle with our group of ten and dipped ourselves under the sea…cold does not even begin to express what the temperature was like! Sill the half mile jog back soon warmed us through along with more changing of pants.
Im not going to go into a detailed diary of the rest of the week because it would be a bit of a slog and I don’t know if anyone else would be that interested but I will say the two day 11 mile hike up some of the biggest wind blown mountains North Wales had to offer along with wild camping saw the start of an incredible change in these teenagers. They started out as 10 awkward kids who didn’t want to look at each other let alone talk to someone they didn’t know god forbid that would happen but the hardships of hiking across difficult terrain, making camps as well as completing tasks as a team like when e dropped them onto a secluded beach with only the materials to make a raft so they could get back made a change in each and everyone of them that I would not have thought possible at the start of the week.
The kids grew up stopped thinking selfishly and considered their teammates. They supported, laughed and considered others but themselves. They pushed past mental limits protected and cared.
They left at the end of the week different people with hope and determination that would put most adults to shame.
I was privileged to witness this. It was an incredible journey to be a part of and humbling to see.
Thanks to each and every one of you who donated toward this the charity know what they are doing this was not a holiday for these kids much to some surprise on their part but a life changing experience ad any advantage that can be given to those that need it is a good thing.
Land rover project updates will be back from tomorrow.