With the demands a new term presents; settling in children (and parents!) and ensuring all is ready for the doors of Free Rangers to embark on another term, the Free Rangers staff set off for a challenge of their own.
The sun shone bright and early on Sunday 6th September as staff congregated in the yard ready for a trip to The Forest of Dean to attempt to 'Go Ape.' A high ropes course set in the beautiful forest with tarzan swings, zip wires, balancing beams, elevated tunnels and scramble nets. The journey was a peaceful one with staff using the opportunity to catch up on each others lives. As we drew close to the Forest of Dean Gemma our esteemed leader spotted a pub which we felt sure we should visit en route home should our mission be a success!
Upon arrival and after enjoying a picnic by the lake we were helped into our harnesses and given a safety talk with full instructions. Following the question, "You are about to take part in a very high risk activity, are you happy to continue?" from one of the Leaders there was a definite shuffle of footsteps and anxious sideways glances. It was clear we were all out of our comfort zones.
We completed the practise course reminding one another to always, "stay attached" and launched ourselves with huge intrepidation onto the high ropes course. Whilst the scramble net presented problems for some, others struggles with the sheers heights of the tree platforms or the concept of trusting the equipment when embarking on a zip wire.
There was a constant throughout, that of cajoling, supporting, helping, encouraging, and trusting. There were also tears, laughter, sibling rivalry and screaming (Soraya, apparently it helped with the zip wire decent!)
One thing is sure in that we put ourselves in a situation where we did not feel hugely confident. We constantly put children in new situations, encouraging them to take measured risks and subsequently they reap the benefits with enhanced levels of self-esteem and self-worth. A joy to witness.
On Sunday 6th September the staff of Free Rangers did exactly this and what a great feeling we all experienced.
We are now ready for the rigours of the new term.