Year 9 in Kent
The sun shone – indeed, it blazed down – for our arrival in Kent at Grosvernor Kingswood Activities Centre. It was a busy, bustling centre! Lots of schools were arriving at the same time, but eventually, More House pupils were allocated rooms. After the luggage was carried off to the accommodation blocks, the fun could begin.
First up: a variety of problem-solving challenges, elasticated ropes to navigate, benches to balance upon, and sorting and sequencing tasks. Jemima showed great agility by squeezing under the rope without touching it once, Clemmie was quick and smart in sorting people by age and height while balancing on a very small board, and India and Eleanor turned out to be the quickest at working out how to balance on the huge see-saw.
In the evening, there was a great scrap heap challenge! The girls had to create a robot figure out of old cardboard boxes – there were some quite surprising and amazing results. The catwalk of robots was a sight to behold!
An early breakfast – scrambled eggs, sausages, and beans – set the girls up for a full day of activities. Jungle vines was tremendously challenging, as the girls were climbing up very steep inclines. Although they were roped and secured from below, it was nerve wrecking all the same! Miss Reid was particularly quick at this task and set the pace from the outset. At ground level, the other girls watched while listening to a beat box, entertaining us with their eclectic choice of music.
Raft building provided a pleasant relief – partly because it was on ground level and partly because it allowed the girls to cool down on this especially warm day. They were split into two groups and it was a race against time! Ellie, Stacie, and Charlotte showed some particular skill with the knots, so their team was quickly ahead of the other as they constructed a raft out of plastic barrels, logs, and ropes. Soon, they were ready for launching! Off they floated on the lake. On the other team, however, Adiva and Mia were sinking – clearly none of them could tie a rope securely enough to ensure the raft was watertight! As a result, they were forced to swim quite a bit instead.
The Mini Olympics seemed to be everyone’s cup of tea. Jemima, Malak, Ellie, Annie, and Georgie demonstrated real skill and agility – they could all run, tumble, and hulahoop at some speed. In addition, when the girls saw the empty volleyball court, they quickly asked for a ball. Soon, we had two enthusiastic teams on our hands, with some powerful serving from Rose, Eleanor, and Mia, and some tremendous defense from Rose.
Wednesday was another day of ropes and water. In the morning, the girls went to the climbing wall and their renewed confidence was now evident. Annie, Stasie, Ellie, and Malak all went up and down the wall face incredibly quickly!
After lunch, the girls went canoeing – this proved to be great fun, with many races and challenges taking place. Sometimes the girls would attempt to stand up in their canoes, paddles in the air! Other times, they would attempt to swap canoes. They achieved varying measures of success… there was quite a lot of swimming involved! The swimming was also pretty speedy, as none of the girls liked the feel of the slimy green material under the surface. Charlotte was the exception – she spent more time in the water rather than on it!
A campfire in the evening rounded off a glorious day. The only spoiler was that we were not allowed to roast the marshmallows for health and safety reasons!
Thursday was upon us too soon – we went back to the ropes. Only this time, it was a steeper and higher climb! The girls not only had to climb a 10m pole, but then also had to crawl onto a moving ledge and balance upon it. It wasn’t an easy task, but many managed it. Francesca was particularly impressive, overcoming her fears and reaching the top successfully. Jemima, Malak, Annie, Adiva, and Stasie was also all brilliant at this challenge.
In the afternoon, the girls were set the task of building a chariot. This was confusing for some – you could tell none of the girls had ever built any Ikea furniture! Ellie’s team was especially successful at this task. They were very soon pushing and pulling their chariot around the field.
Nearing the end of our stay, it was finally time for a disco! All dressed up with somewhere to go. The More House girls inevitably put in a lot of song requests and very quickly the music was good and the company was fun. Although, it was a busy venue so it quickly got sweaty inside! At 9 PM, the music was off and it was back to their rooms for lights out at 10 PM.
Time to pack up and clear up. The girls had one final, hearty breakfast and squeezed in a few challenges before the coaches arrived.
At 2 PM, we were off on our coaches with packed lunches in hand, happy and tired. Surprisingly, after their sandwiches were finished, the chatter and music died down and the girls were all dozing! They clearly needed some time to recover from their fun-filled activities week.