There are no other words I can use to describe my experience at Potheridge House, other than...AMAZING!!!
Our three key aims of the residential were -
1) To conquer our fears
2) To work together as a team
3) To be selfless
1) To conquer our fears...
Well, one of my main fears are spiders, and there is no better place to overcome this fear than at Potheridge! For example, no less than 10 minutes had passed whilst being in my dorm for the first time, did I see a spider run across the floor! Jumping on my bed whilst balancing my suitcase in one hand (I obviously did not want the spider to get in there) and holding my camera in the other hand (apparently I wanted to record this monster crawling across my floor)!!! However I knew I had to something to get rid of this spider as quickly and as calmly as possible, which is something I am proud to say I did! This happened several times throughout the trip, other than when there was a spider on the door frame in the staff area which resulted in me running out screaming!!!! So not only did I conquer one of my fears, but several children did an extremely selfless act of getting rid of a spider (just naturally picking it up and putting it outside - not sure how they did this) so that it was not near me!! For that children, I will be forever thankful :) SPIDERS 0 - CHILDREN 1
One of the fears that kept coming up throughout our stay at Potheridge was that of heights! It's not necessarily a natural thing to walk down the side of a cliff or to abseil down a tree, but we all did it! On our day of coasteering, after walking for a few minutes we reach the part of the cliff which we were to walk down whilst being supported by a rope and three instructors. Now this can be very daunting for some children (and adults), however, I have found the best way to overcome this part of coasteering is to come down with me...not because I will keep you focussed, and will continuously talk to you whilst we go down...but because I will slip, not once, not twice, but three times which actually resulted in most of my group laughing hysterically at me which took their mind of what they were doing. Before we knew it, we were on the beach! CLIFF 0 - CHILDREN 1
Now, teamwork is an extremely important aspect of life whether as a child or even as an adult. At Potheridge, every single day we all worked together as part of a team. Whether this was on day one when the children were having to make their beds, during the crate stack to see which team can stack the most crates whilst being in mid air, or even something as simple as clearing the tables after breakfast and dinner. Every child worked as part of a team throughout the residential. During one evening we played a game called 'Mad Postman' - every team had to find their leader (the teachers) who were hiding somewhere outside in the dark in the grounds of Potheridge. Finding us in the dark proved easy for some children (well mainly my group, but that was because I had a fluorescent yellow hat on). However, the children were all working together to find us so that we could give them their 'post'. Although I am demanding a recount because I'm convinced my team should have won, maybe next year :)
3) To be selfless...
Who could ever imagine, that during a 4 day residential trip, would 60 children do a variety of selfless acts (EACH) during their stay at Potheridge? I've already mentioned the spider incident, so there's no need for me to go through that trauma again! But there were children who were constantly looking out for each other, showing everyone where to go, helping each other putting wetsuits and buoyancy aids on, getting a refill of water during dinner, sharing torches, pulling children (and adults) back into the canoe after jumping out...the list is endless, I could go on forever giving examples of how all of the children were acting selflessly throughout the week!
Like I've already mentioned, visiting Potheridge was an AMAZING experience! We are all so immensely proud of each and every one of the children, conquering their fear of the dark, their fear of heights, as well as working together through a variety of different team tasks, and ultimately doing selfless acts each and every single day!!!
We are already looking forward to going to Potheridge next year :)