During March two Hazeldene employees spent a weekend in Ullswater in the Lake District with pupils from The Fred Longworth High School, helping the children to learn new skills and enjoy the outdoor adventure. Here, Ian Calvert, Engineer at Hazeldene tells us about his experience.
Looking forward with excitement to the weekend ahead I did wonder how I would deal with groups of teenagers, what have I done?
Agne Grubinskaite and I volunteered to mentor groups of year 11 students from Fred Longworth School, Wigan, accompanied by teachers: Lucy Dalton, Martin Ainscough & Pete Agnew.
The activities plan was amended slightly due to the poor weather. Friday allowed for a brief introduction and familiarisation with the area. We split into groups and spent some time on the assault course, where we set a record time scaling the 12ft wall, (12 people in 55 seconds) followed by tunnelling through a long network of very narrow underground pipes. Later we did the jog ‘n’ dip, followed by a run around the grounds and a swim in the lake. The water was approx 4 degrees!
Saturday was Gorge Walking. Equipped with waterproof suits we set off up the fells to a series of rivers and waterfalls, all fast flowing, through caves and waist deep in places. The freezing conditions made this quite a challenge and the students learned how teamwork, patience and determination could lead to them achieving goals that they may never have considered.
Saturday night, kit–up, debrief and off we went up Place Fell to camp for the night. After a hike of two and half hours, mostly uphill we made camp, exhausted and very hungry. We erected the tents and cooked supper, beef casserole in a bag! Best meal in a long time. The morning brought freezing temperatures, snow and high winds, which made cooking breakfast a new experience. Back down the mountain and rendezvous at the beach, to meet the boat. We all cheered until we discovered that it was to be powered by us. A crash lesson in getting 12 novices to row a boat in a straight line, resulted in us mostly zigzagging our way back the 2 miles, to the centre. The dream of a hot shower was our fuel.
In conclusion I was sceptic; the youth of today does get a lot of bad press. This group of youths/young men and women are an absolute credit to their school and their teachers. They faced every challenge with grit and determination, learned how to reassure and be patient with their comrades, to set targets and work hard to achieve their goals .They should be very proud of themselves.
Personally, I realised that most people have some skill, however well hidden. Patience, encouragement and reassurance won the day. Agne and I would like to thank Hazeldene and The William Jackson Food Group for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this awesome adventure.