Exploring the Limits
With great excitement and some feelings of trepidation, 36 St Chris Award pupils set off to Umm Al Quwain in the UAE to take part in our annual adventure expedition. The weather forecast was not great, but all were hopeful that the trip would live up to expectations and be filled with fun and adrenaline-fuelled activities. The journey there ran smoothly and, on arrival at the UAQ adventure camp, the children unpacked. Once settled, it was down to the canteen area for a late supper. After supper, a fashion show was held in which children and teachers dressed up in the finest bin bags, string and Sellotape and paraded around for the admiring crowd.
Many of the children, filled with excitement, awoke the next morning before dawn and had to wait patiently in their beds until breakfast at 7am. After breakfast, the real fun began. In their activity groups, the children were rotated through a number of activities that tested their fitness and their nerve. The Leap of Faith took a great deal of courage just to climb to the platform, never mind jumping off and punching a ball dangling in mid-air. Most of the children were able to overcome their nerves and succeeded with this challenge, which is more than can be said for some of the accompanying teachers!
Over the next two days, the children’s resolve was put to the test time and again, whether it be flinging themselves down an extremely high zip wire, scrambling their way out of a maze, dragging themselves to the top of the climbing wall, kayaking in the rain, jumping from the top deck of a boat – whilst all the time supporting each other and sharing a friendly smile. The children pushed themselves physically to their limits and not once did they moan or complain.
When Saturday came and it was time to leave, the children were showing signs of fatigue and, although sad to leave, were ready to go home so that they could share their tales of adventure with friends and family and get a good night’s sleep in the comfort of their own bed. The staff at UAQ were fantastic and sad that we were leaving. They thanked us for our visit and the way that the children had conducted themselves throughout. The praise continued at the airport, where airport staff commented on the outstanding behaviour and polite and well-mannered nature of our pupils – this despite a two hour delay. The plane journey itself was not the most comfortable either as bad weather and turbulence meant that the ride home was a little bumpy to say the least. But in true St Chris Award style, all of the children stayed calm and were supportive of each other. Once back on land, everyone was happy to be home and to see their parents again.
As always, the trip was a great success and all the children gained a great deal from participating. They came home with greater confidence in their ability to face difficult challenges, gained wonderful memories that will be treasured forever, had loads of laughs and developed lasting friendships. The St Chris Award staff and all at the school are extremely proud of all those who took part. Well done!