Sefton Children’s Trust Annual Residential Experience
At Manor Adventure
2nd – 9th August 2014
The Sefton Childrens Trust team of volunteers worked passionately and tirelessly every year throughout to hit our fundraising target. A lot of work goes into the planning and delivering of the Sefton Childrens Trust Holidays, none of which could have been achieved without the help of our kind supporters and generous sponsors. The effort is rewarded each year when the children and a number of leaders depart, ready to enjoy 7 days of fun filled activities, friendships and memories that will last a life time!
This year’s report begins with happy 30th year to us and a huge thank you to each and everyone one of our supporters who have made the Sefton Childrens Trust 2014 Childrens Holiday become a reality. Without the continued support of our volunteers, committee members, the community organisations and professionals who have taken the time to refer children, Manor Adventure Centre and most of all our generous funders and kind hearted individual donators. We can honestly say we could not have done it without you all!
On Saturday 2nd August 2014 at 10.30am, our team of Sefton Childrens Trust volunteers met at Bridge Learning in Litherland, Sefton to begin the registration process of 68 unbelievably excited children who were taking part in this year’s Sefton Childrens Trust Summer holiday. Once registered, we all boarded the 2 coaches and waved goodbye to their families and loved ones, to begin the 7 day action packed week of fun filled activities and long lasting memories. The 2 hour journey to Manor Adventure Centre, Shropshire was over in a flash and we where soon welcomed by the rest of our volunteer team, who mostly arrived the evening before to prepare the bedrooms, bedding, clothes, tuck shop and many additional tasks that help the week run smoothly. Once at Manor Adventure we were now a complete team of 68 children (43 boys and 25 girls) and 27 volunteers, including 5 new volunteers, all taking 1 week’s annual leave out of their busy professional lives, to support the charity. As a way to measure impact and help us plan for the future, this year children have completed the ‘Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale’, this scale aims to measure children’s outlook on life and mental wellbeing. Volunteers supported the children to complete this on day 1 and again on day 7, we hope this provides us with some valuable information for future years. *the findings of the ‘Stirling Children’s Wellbeing Scale’ will be collated during the next few months.
Upon arrival the 68 children where split into their 8 groups (3 female groups and 5 male groups), all of the groups had their own distinguishable cap’s that helped us and them identify who was a part of which group! On day 1 the children are given a tour of the Adventure Centre and introduced to the 2 volunteers that will become their group leaders/mentors for the week. Caps on, change of clothes, bedroom found, let their fun commence.
This year we were blessed with fantastic weather, which helps contribute to the memorable time for the children. All children took part in a range of activities that challenged them whilst remaining 100% safe and achievable and most of all fun. The outdoor swimming pool was as popular as ever, as was canoeing, kayaking, raft building, abseiling, BMX biking, the underground maze, climbing and archery. We developed the video session this year with many of the children making a mini film and speaking about their ambitions and future job aspirations.
A local Police Officer and volunteer with another local charity committed time to come and speak with our older children (aged 11+) about community policing, becoming positive role models in their own communities and help breakdown stereotypes of authority figures. We felt that this was a valuable additional piece of work and the children appeared to enjoy learning about policing, trying on the uniforms (helmets and all) and asking questions of the Officer.
As a special surprise treat for the children and to help them celebrate our 30th Anniversary we spent the Wednesday afternoon, not only in the company of the Mayor of Sefton and other distinguished guests but also the opportunity for all 68 children to compete in a huge game of ‘It’s a Knockout’. Picture huge inflatables, giant ball ponds, foam ponds, relay races, giant basket ball. The enjoyment of all was a sight to behold and a memory that I’m sure will stay with all for a long time.
One of the most poignant times during the week was when the children, volunteers and staff sat together to mark the WW1 Centenary, 100th anniversary of Britain entering into WW1. The children took time to make their own poppies and mini wreaths, some children placed a wreath at the foot of the largest tree on camp on behalf of Sefton Childrens Trust and read out poems to the other children from World War 1. Children listened to the song ‘pack up your troubles’ and understood the morale boosting message it would have given to the members of the Forces and their families. The session was ended with a 1 minute round of applause in memory of others.
During the week it is our dance/drama volunteer, Amy’s, role to build the children’s confidence and trust and encourage each of the 8 groups to learn and perform a dance in front of their peers, our volunteers and the staff of Manor Adventure, in the end of camp show (she also has to do the same for our staff dance)! Well, this year’s show was amazing/epic/awesome, with all children in all of the groups taking part. This is a huge achievement for those children and one that that many of them would not have attempted on day 1 of their holiday; helping to prove that with the correct support, structure, positive reinforcement & challenging activities the children of Sefton can perform beyond their wildest imaginations. The final night was rounded off with a disco and firework display and numerous renditions our camp song!
The final day takes the form of children changing into their own clothes, pack up their sleeping bag, toiletry bags, toiletries, cuddly toys (all provided by the charity) and their pieces of work from arts and crafts, eat breakfast together, one last version of the camp song and wait to board the coaches. Not even a 4 hour traffic delay on our way back could dampen the spirits of the class of 2014!!