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Extra Curricular Activities  >  LVI Team Building

LVI Team Building

To kick-start the weekend, we rushed out of school and loaded our bags in the ‘bag bus’, split ourselves into two minibuses and were driven into Tamworth to go bowling. Once we arrived at the ‘Strikers’ venue, I leapt out of the minibus to get a fresh breath of air and feeling a buzz of excitement, waltzed my way in a hurried but controlled manor to the entrance of the bowling alley.

We finally got to our lane and played our two games of bowling, in which Luke Christian and myself won one apiece, in my bowling group. Then in completion of the bowling, I then focused my attention toward the vast array of games that were before me and I must have spent quite a bit, just sating my compulsive need to play them all. The bowling was very competitive, but we found it extremely fun, especially after our initially few weeks of A levels. One new high score, 700 tickets, 4 big bags of Haribo Tangfastic and Starmix later at around 6 o’clock we were then called back to the exit of the alley, where we were counted and then returned to bus, where I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (mainly from the volume of sweets I was consuming).

We then drove to the place we were staying at, called Ravenstor, which was a part of the Youth Hostel Association and as we drove up to the hostel it was already dark, we couldn’t really see much and when we got out of the bus it was freezing cold for September. So, in desperation to get out of the cold, we all quickly retrieved our bags from the bag bus and strode with a sense of urgency toward the warmth of the hostel. The inside of the hostel was quite open and looked like a small mansion with a staircase on the left and a dining room to the right.

Mrs Lauder and Mrs Cleaver then sat us all down in the large dining room and handed out the room keys. The people in my room, Curtis S, Adam D, Henry B, Harry C and I then went to our room and unpacked our things and then headed back downstairs.

We were split into teams dependent on our place in the register, so I was in a team with Alex, Scott and Katie, in order to independently play one of Mrs Cleavers’ and one of Mrs Lauder’s quizzes. They were both tricky and they well tested all of our mental abilities, but I would say that we all enjoyed a bit of mental sparring with one another. Once both quizzes had concluded we all shared in the spoils of the winners, Dairy Milk Chocolate Buttons, and returned back to our rooms and got some rest

Saturday 16th September 

We arose in the morning with excitement and anticipation for the day ahead of us. After a marvellous full English breakfast, to energise us for our adventures, we tidied our rooms got ready to leave. Then when we were all downstairs, we were sectioned into the activities we had written our names down to do: rock climbing, tunnelling and abseiling. 

Out of the selection I chose to abseil as we were told that it was off an aqua duct and this appealed to my specific interests in adrenaline fuelled activities, which tend to find exhilarating; I found this to be no exception.

The Aqua duct was built over a fast-flowing river and so with a feeling of both anxiousness and excitement we harnessed up helping one another to tighten them and once we were all harnessed up, our instructor then briefed us on the ins and outs of abseiling.

Our instructor was in his mid-twenties and turned out to be sound, as some would say, and the first thing that he said to us was ‘do you want to go over the river or the land’. The overall bumble of noise indicated that we wanted to do it over the river, which I voted for. My reasoning being that if we are going to do this once, we might as well make the most of it. The second thing that he asked was ‘has anyone done abseiling before, and if so would you like to go first’, so having done abseiling before I raised my hand and was chosen to go first. ‘Right, okay now go over the barrier and lean back in your harness’ was the next thing that he said to me and as I sat back in my harness quite suddenly, I heard a few gasps, but I knew that I could trust the equipment. I straightened my legs and waited until he told me I could go.

Once I had heard him, I held on to my rope and I jumped away from the side of the aqua duct. The rush that you feel when you are falling, makes everything appear in slow motion, which seems counter-intuitive as you are moving quite quickly but it is something that I will never forget, it was incredible to say the least.  As I looked down I saw the river rapidly flowing beneath me. I slowed to a stop and I found myself directly in the centre of the river. There were a few people waiting for me at the bottom of the aqua duct and they used a rope to pull me towards the dry land.

I then stayed at the bottom, helping the team to get back onto dry land and unclipping them from the safety rope which our instructor had. I then watched as each of us abseiled from the top, there were some bumps and bruises, ranging from slips, letting go of the rope and not letting go of the rope go, jumping and bumping their helmet onto the side of the aqua duct, Harry Calder even requested to stop halfway down to take a picture, which is difficult when you are uncontrollably spinning in mid-air, but I’m sure that all of us will agree that it was an amazing experience. 

After all of the solo abseils had been completed, our instructor then suggested, as we still had lots of time left, to do tandem abseils, so everybody paired up, because the tandem abseil ropes were very close together the tandem pair had to hold on to one another in order to make it more comfortable to jump and also for comfort in general, as you are no longer in control. Two by two we went down together and pulled them onto land again. 

I was last to do a tandem abseil and Mrs Lauder hadn’t done one either and seeing as everyone else had either abseiled twice or didn’t want to go again, I went with Mrs Lauder. Even though it was a team building weekend, having your teacher scream beside you as you abseil off an aqua duct does make you think differently of them in a positive way and makes you realise that teachers have just as much fun as we do. 

If anyone were to have the incredible opportunity of abseiling, where we were or just abseiling in general, I would highly recommend doing it, as it not only builds your confidence in others, but in yourself as well. We worked astoundingly as a team and we supported one another in a way we have never done before. I can truly say that we are now connected more as a second family than we are a bunch of varied groups and friends. 

By Theo Zuzarte