We went to catch up with CVQO a Gift Your Gear beneficiary, at one of their school partnership days at Marwell Activity Centre, Hampshire.
We were hoping for a bright crisp winter's day but got a very wet and windy one. Although not ideal, these were perfect conditions for testing out Rohan customer donations for Gift Your Gear and a great example of why so many projects ask for waterproof jackets above everything else!
We arrived a bit later than the teenagers from two local schools, "Petersfield" and "Bohunt" and are warmly greeted by teachers Mrs Green and Mrs Heath and Kevin Raw from CVQO.
They explain that the Schools Partnership is an initiative for year 7-9 children, with the aim of motivating them to perform at the best of their ability and to ensure that they don't disengage from education. For example, one child is a carer for her mum and sibling, as well as juggling school, and others are finding the rigours of academic life challenging which has resulted in missing school and causing trouble. All of them have the opportunity to gain a BTEC in teamwork, personal skills and citizenship.
The course involves a mixture of outdoor activities, team working challenges and some classroom based coursework. In order to be able to put a group together, the two schools have joined forces. This isn't the first group they have ran but they tell us that they all follow the same pattern, Mrs Heath says "When we bring the two school groups together, they immediately huddle into groups at opposite sides of the room, by the time we are a few weeks in you couldn't say which kids were Bohunt and which were Petersfield, they soon adapt to being a team. It's a valuable skill"
As the children are about to tackle an underground cavern which is ankle deep in water, pitch black, full of leaf matter and insects, one of the girls bursts into tears and refused to go in. For anyone with an ounce of claustrophobia, the reaction is easy to understand. Some of the boisterous boys surface at the other end and come running over to offer help. They offer reassurance, a hand to hold and words of encouragement. I'd love to say this worked, but it didn't. However, all of the children did throw themselves into a very muddy assault course and made it across a swamp bridge (thankfully). Archery was cheekily competitive and one of the quiet boys demonstrated very rapid mental arithmetic when working out what each team member needed to score to win.
All of the young people were genuinely delighted to be given a waterproof thanks to donations to Gift Your Gear. Being outdoors and working together makes a real difference to the outcomes for these children and many like them across the UK. Thanks so much for your kit, do please keep it coming!