Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Day 2 in the Big Exmouth House - it's only when you think really BIG ...

We were awoken (all too early) this morning, and camp began to fall into the pattern it often does.  Creatures called "boys" had to be reminded, only gently I admit, about personal hygiene issues.  Older girls had to be gently woken.  The two main noise makers had to be ... reminded / threatened.

And so it was and is that our camp starts to take its inevitable form.  One of these things is questions. "Can I get dressed?"  "Should I get dressed?"  "Do I have to get dressed?"  "Is this my toothbrush?"  We try to make it clear to the children from day one that decision making and problem solving are a big part of the learning on camp, and therefore, don't always expect an answer from us.

Then the questions get a little more needy.  Needy in the sense of "I really need an answer" but also in the "I am in need of a little reassurance please."  The second tranche of questions started shortly after breakfast.  They basically all boiled down to "What activities are we doing today?" and "Should I be a little scared?"

When the time came, I got the gang together and attempted to allay any fears whilst not dipping any expectations, and certainly not sugaring any pills.  Water sports today kids.  Fine to be scared, but you're still going in.  To the very cold sea.

Our swimming cossie march to the beach - yes, the zig zags again - was greeted by the smiley and cheery folk from our water sports providers, whose message was abundantly simple and clear:

You are going to wind surf
You are going to kayak
You are going to stand up paddle board
You are going to have the most amazing time

And do you know what?  They did.

Within 10 minutes of the lesson, 6 of my group of 8 had stood up on their wind surf, holding their mast or their boom, and were stood, a little self-awestruck, in the realization that they were, indeed, wind surfing.  In the midst of this, children arrived in their kayaks amazed at what they were attempting, and achieving.  Further beyond, another group were kneeling and standing on their paddle boards, looking more like travelers on the Zambezi than primary students on the Exe.

And it's all quite simple really.  Brilliant instructors leading brilliant activities with brilliant resources coupled to a very simple mantra: it can be done.  Leave your worries, your negative mindset and above all your QUESTIONS at the shore and come and simply achieve something ... wonderful.  On a Tuesday.  In an unflattering wet suit.

After all, it's only when you think really big that you achieve really big things.

No kidding - about 80% of them wind surfing; 70% of them standing up on paddle boards if only for a second; 100% of them in a kayak.  0 questions answered.  And every single one of them achieving something life changing.

At the end of a thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly exhausting and extremely long day 2, that is all.