This year our fundraising was even more challenging: it’s always an act of faith, booking for the next year while we are still at Manor on the current holiday, but somehow, mainly thanks to you, who support us regularly and so generously, money was secured, and we were off!
We changed our departure venue this year, thanks to Bootle Football Club, who offered accommodation for registration, and gathering the young people. One valiant band of volunteers had travelled to Manor the previous evening to organise things that end, and all went smoothly (more or less).
It was lovely to welcome several visitors, along with the Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Sefton, to our Open Day.
All our volunteers showed their usual commitment, and gave the young people their all. Often the main thing ’our’ youngsters lack, for a variety of reasons, is quality time with an empathetic adult, with the time and energy to spend with them, holding the bike saddle as they wobble along, taking them to the swimming baths, talking to them at mealtimes, as they pass one another the ketchup. One lad reported that in his house, everyone eats upstairs in their room, and they put the dishes on the landing.
All the usual activities were offered: swimming, (several young people learnt to swim during the week). cycling, climbing, dance, abseiling, potholing, canoeing, kayaking. Each young person was challenged, supported, and grew in confidence and self-esteem, as they discovered just what they were capable of. It’s always a significant moment for us, the onlookers, when we see a young person turn from boasting about their own achievements (“Ha Ha! You couldn’t do it! I got right to the top!) to genuine admiration as they recognise a less confident peer overcome their apprehension, and go that bit further. The support of their ‘team mates’ becomes a powerful commodity.
There were the usual ‘characters’ among the young people this year. One lad, who had a difficult home life, when asked to rate the holiday, gave it “10 out of 10”, adding “I’d give it 20 out of 20, if I could”! He engaged the Mayor in serious conversation, asking about his political leanings (the Mayor is impartial!). He made such an impression that the Mayor invited him to join his Youth Council in ten year’s time!
Another boy was very upset as time came to leave Sefton, but was persuaded to stay, and was fully engaging by the end of the week. One teacher came to visit, and saw a boy, who presented as moody and challenging in school, interacting with his peers, smiling and having fun. So different from his usual demeanour of always looking fed up with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
There were the siblings whose mother had died just a few weeks before the holiday, who started the week somewhat subdued, but they were able to forget their grief for a while, and were having a ball by the end.
We can’t please them all. However. One picky girl asked why we didn’t do horse-riding, and thought a roller-coaster would be a good idea!!!!
The weather was good, so good that extra supplies of sun cream had to be drafted in! This always helps, as it helps keep down laundry costs, and it is easier to provide diversions during ‘free time’ if outdoor games are available. Also, the young people love it when the volunteers play with them, turning the skipping rope, while teaching the skipping rhymes of yesteryear. There is usually an impromptu football tournament, involving adults, young people and dubious tactics alike!
Overall, everyone was very satisfied with the week. Volunteers could see characters blossom, and those who knew the young people before, could see another side to their character. A few families seem to have ‘issues’, and, these have been directed to further support. Next year’s holiday is provisionally booked, discussions about Christmas and Hampers are currently taking place, and we hope, with your support, to carry on.
Sefton Children’s Trust Annual Residential Experience
At Manor Adventure
July 21st - July 28th 2012