As soon as we met as a group for lunch on the Monday, three of our amazing volunteers were on hand to encourage the children to talk to each other. All of our children love a good game of Dobble so happily ate lunch and played card games together.
We caught the train to Ashford together. When we arrived, the children were assigned their rooms and all were very excited to choose their beds and unpack.
The main aim of our residential was to encourage friendship within the group so our activities programme focused on communication and team building.We played a few ice breaker games so the group could learn each other's names before starting our first planned activity - Obstacle Challenge. The light-hearted nature of the activity (completing an obstacle course as a team) relaxed the group and helped with team bonding.
Each day we ate every meal together and the children were encouraged to look at their itineraries and discuss which activities they were looking forward to.
The children said that their activity highlights were the ones which had an element of danger- Abseiling, 3G Swing, Aerial Runway. However the activities that cemented them as a group were the more team-based activities such as Nightline (completing tasks while blindfolded) and Team Tech.
They also enjoyed the downtime activities in the evenings; the first we played card games (more rounds of Dobble!) and completed crafts till 11pm and on the second, we watched a movie in the venue's cinema room.
Each child really blossomed on the trip- friendships were made, alliances were formed and even the quietest children were shouting and laughing by lunchtime on the second day.
We left as a group after lunch on Wednesday afternoon, majority of the children were being picked up by their parents or guardians. They were very grateful to have had a few days off to relax and were happy that their children had enjoyed such a positive experience with us.