27 January 2012
Prince's Trust is a 13 week full time self development course, in their second week of the Team programme, the students take part in a week long residential. This is an account of the week from one of the course tutors, John Bulley.Day 3 - Wednesday 25th Jan 2012
They started off with the 'Spider Web Challenge'. The team had to construct a web out of rope between trees in the forest and then pass each other safely through without touching the rope (seems easy enough on paper, bit more difficult in practice).
We had lunch on the minibus because we were running late and had to get to the rock climbing which is about half an hours drive away from base, 135 million years old sandstone rocks covered in slime and slippery as anything! After almost completely exhausting themselves they then had to pack all the gear away before going out into the forest to collect enough wood to build a bonfire.
By this stage it was pitch black and the temperature was dropping. We chucked jacket potatoes into the embers of the fire and then off for the night walk, no lights, no mobile phones, no talking and just to make it interesting they had to crawl on their tummies through narrow passages in the rocks... scary enough in the daylight, a real test in the pitch black!
Though plainly very apprehensive they all did it, visibly gaining in confidence as they returned back to camp and some hot grub."I have had a brilliant time, thank you for your time and patience""Thanks for the experience in many different tasks, it has boosted my confidence more, thank you and I've learnt a lot"Day 4 - Thursday 26th Jan 2012
9.30am; the team trooped off through the drizzle into the forest to start their next tasks. First up, the Hidden Object task, whereby two members of the team are blindfolded and tethered together before being guided to an object. This is a object lesson in trust because the two blindfolded team members really cannot see a thing and the forest floor is anything but even.
A quick cup of tea back at base and then straight back out to build a traverse across a lake half a mile out in the forest. All the gear needed has to be carried to each site and the traverse task needs an awful lot of ropes, carabiners, helmets and harnesses.
Hours later after finally rigging up the traverse system and getting all the team safely across the lake it has to be dismantled and lugged all the way back to base where it all has to be accounted for, nothing in this life is easy it seems, especially out here in the Ashdown Forest
and there's still another task to complete before they can call it a day.
Final task, build a bridge across a gully. By this stage we are all starting to get tired and just a little tetchy. This is where the team really are having to try extra hard not to loose patience with each other, keep co-operating and concentrating on the job in hand.
It's a real test of their commitment to the course and more importantly to each other. By the time they get the final member across, the light is rapidly failing and they've still got to cook the dinner and clean the accomodation block from top to bottom, tommorow is another day."I feel I've achieved a lot and have really built up my confidence""I had a really good time and such a good laugh. Thank you for putting up with me!"