Despite the weather being somewhat inclement, Potential Plus UK member families met together on Sunday October 24th 2021 in the stunning grounds of the Lea Green Centre in Derbyshire for a day of fun activities and safe socialising.
Thankfully we had use of a large, well-ventilated sports hall as the heavy shower that was forecast took some time to pass!
Our instructor for the day was the wonderful and flexible Mark. He quickly adapted our programme for the day to suit the somewhat soggy conditions outside and ensured that parents and children alike had an enjoyable time without getting too wet.
We started with some indoor team activities, including passing hoops around our circle, ensuring gravity helped us to do it as quickly as possible. It became a little trickier when Mark introduced the knotted ropes!
A lot of the morning’s activities needed good communication between teams and partners. Outside in the woods we each ‘verbally’ guided our blindfolded partner alongside a rope through a maze of trees and a tunnel. We soon discovered the wet fallen leaves made it a bit slippery underfoot, but everyone completed the course successfully.
After a well-deserved lunch break fuelled by cups of hot tea and coffee (for parents), we carried equipment outside and up to the bush craft area in the woods. Mark discussed with us what was needed for survival outdoors and demonstrated how to make a fire using only two pieces of wood and also using a bow and drill. At all times the emphasis was on how to do it safely. Then we had an opportunity to create a spark ourselves using manganese and steel. It was a bit tricky, so we did need to stay positive and keep trying.
The reward for our hard work and effort was hot drinks, popcorn and toasted marshmallows all cooked over the fire that Mark had made.
Next up was irrigation! The younger people were tasked with moving water from one area down to a ‘field’ using guttering. The emphasis was on the children communicating with each other to work out how best to do it.
Back in the sports hall at the end of the day, we finished with a team relay, competing parents against children to ‘body surf’ a large mattress from one end of the hall to the other by running and using the motion of their bodies to move it – which the children won!
Throughout the whole day it was so rewarding to see the children chatting together and sharing their ideas, passions and thoughts with others who ‘got’ them. And it was similarly an opportunity for their parents to be with other families in a safe environment.
If Lea Green can provide such a positive experience on a wet day in October, we will definitely be looking at the possibilities for returning next year.
About the author: Julie Taplin is the Chief Executive of Potential Plus UK. After graduating from university in German and Business Studies, Julie gained her Diploma in Marketing and worked for a multi-national company in Hamburg before moving into the charity and education sectors in the UK. Julie has worked for Potential Plus UK since 2005 and been its Chief Executive since 2018