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Year 6 Kingswood Residential - May 2021

Day 1

After an uneventful, although rather loud, 2-hour journey we had arrived at Kingswood. Following a quick visit to the dormitories to drop-off our bags we then met our group leader (Matt) who gave us a tour of the site - it was at this point we saw the 10-metre climbing tower for the first time and this definitely created a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Once we completed our tour, we headed back to our rooms to unpack and make our beds - let's just say the less said about the bed making the better! 

Finally, it was time for the first round of 'main' activities, during this session the different groups were off doing Aeroball, Laser Tag, Nightline or Problem Solving. Aeroball, which is best described as cross between trampolining and netball, was lots of fun although it was far trickier than was expected. During Laser Tag we played various games including: capture the flag, no-man's land and protect the president, we finished with a mini-3-a-side tournament; a special mention should go to the team of Martha, Lacie and Yasmin who proved themselves to be laser experts and went through the whole tournament undefeated! Our evening activity was mini-Olympics, during this activity we did lots of different races and events.

Kingswood certainly does have its very own micro-climate, in our first few hours of being here we have already experienced torrential rain, thunder, hail and sunshine! Fingers crossed for some more predictable weather tomorrow when we have a day which will include climbing, abseiling and the highly anticipated leap of faith!!

Day 2

Following 'some' sleep, our first full day began rather early (we won't go in to the 5am wake-up!) however after eventually reaching breakfast time everyone took onboard some fuel ready for the busy day ahead. 

Today's timetable saw every group take on 3 of the biggest challenges of the week: abseiling, climbing and leap of faith. All these activities challenged us (children and adults) hugely throughout the day; this comment about abseiling sums up the challenges perfectly, "It isn't exactly normal to walk off a 10-metre tower and then walk down a wall, is it?".

Despite all these challenges and feelings of apprehension, the way in which everyone set themselves their own targets and overcame their individual fears was truly incredible. To see children who are petrified of heights, climb a wall (climbing), make their way up a rather wobbly pole (leap of faith) or step over the edge of a tower (abseiling) is remarkable. The experience and feeling of tackling a fear head on and the elation felt afterwards is something which will stay with them forever.  As well as completing the aerial adventures, different groups also completed some of the activities from day one.

After a very long day, some of the group were definitely not too keen on going on a 'hike' for our evening activity - to be fair after a 15 hour day and less than 5 hours sleep some of the adults weren't too keen either! However, we set off along the cliff tops and headed up 'Beeston Bump' - along the way there were one or two groans about climbing 'the mountain'! Despite this, once we got to the top it was certainly worth it, as the weather had saved the best to the end of the day, as we were greeted by a fantastic sunset over the Norfolk countryside.

We are all hoping for a little bit more sleep this evening, along with some better weather, as we are all spending the afternoon at the beach tomorrow.

Day 3

After a much better night's sleep, today began at a much more reasonable hour with everyone feeling refreshed and ready for another day of fun.

The first couple of activities today included things such as, den building, fire-lighting, obstacle challenge and problem solving. The weather was definitely not on our side this morning with it being wet and windy, for the groups fire-lighting this made it even more challenging. However, using the skills learnt during Forest Schools and channelling our inner Bear Grylls, everyone managed to get a fire going. It's safe to say that weather increased the importance of den building, as we knew once we had a made shelter we could use it! We had some very impressive dens built, although some of the estate agent sales pitches were even more impressive!

By mid-afternoon, we all headed off to West Runton beach - thankfully the weather had improved. At the beach we were all off doing various different things, including: rock-pooling, football, frisbee, sandcastle building, cricket and beach art. It was fantastic to see everyone together just enjoying themselves and having fun. After almost 3 hours (which had whizzed by) we headed off back to camp for dinner.

Our evening activity was bottle rockets, where the aim was to make a rocket and a protective case for a water balloon. The rocket then got launched and if the water balloon survived it could be thrown at one of our instructors; the incentive of this certainly got us working hard in our teams. In the end, three of the balloons survived and James (one of our instructors) had a rather wet and cold end to his day!

Tomorrow will see more groups tackle den building and fire-lighting, whilst the first couple of groups get to experience the zipwire as well as try their hand at archery. 

Day 4

Our final full day began by several of us having to be woken up in order to avoid us missing breakfast! As we all prepared for another day full of fun and challenges everyone was excited by the prospect of taking on the zipwire at some point throughout the day.

In order to complete the zipwire, you had to make your way to the top of climbing tower and after getting securely attached to the safety harness, there was only one thing left to do...which was to take a hop, skip, jump or step off the tower! After that you were speeding along the zipwire and once you eventually came to a stop there was still the tricky task of lowering yourself down from the zipwire using the technique the instructors had taught you. The levels of courage and resilience shown to tackle the zipwire were incredible and is something everyone should be proud of.

There were numerous other activities that we completed throughout the day, one of which was nightline which is in essence a blindfolded obstacle course. To navigate our way around the course we had to follow a guide rope and listen to the instructions of our team-mates. The course involved crawling through the mud, making our way over numerous obstacles and through tyre tunnels. It was great fun, if rather dirty!

Our final evening activity of the week was a campfire; this was the perfect way to end what has been an incredible week.  We got to enjoy hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows whilst playing several games as we sat around the fire.

We still have a couple of activities to look forward to tomorrow morning before we make our way home after lunch.

Day 5

After a long yet thoroughly enjoyable week, we find ourselves back on the coach heading home. After breakfast this morning we had the challenging task of getting everyone to pack their bags - in some ways this always seems to be more challenging than the leap of faith. 

Following this each group completed their final two activities of the week, these included activities such as archery, buggy building and obstacle challenge. As it suggests, buggy building required us to build a buggy in teams and then get it around the track as quickly as possible. Obstacle challenge involved us completing various activities and challenges as a team with the focus being on teamwork and communication. We then had a picnic lunch before starting our journey home.

We have had a truly fantastic week and have created lasting memories. Everyone has taken on new challenges and achieved their individual goals and targets - they should all be rightly proud of themselves. 

Now just to get through the last part of the coach journey before we can all enjoy some rest, peace and quiet...

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