PUBLISHED 13 June 2022
Year 6 enjoyed a fantastic residential trip to the Elizabethan manor house, Condover Hall. Set in 78 acres, JCA’s flagship activity centre offered a combination of both indoor and outdoor activities set against a backdrop of history and stunning Shropshire countryside. The children were presented with a multitude of challenges and teambuilding exercises which enabled them to grow in resilience and confidence, face their fears and forge new friendships.
On 23rd May, the children left AKS Prep with a few tears (from the parents), as the children boarded the coach in advance of the journey to Condover Hall. Going by the size of their cases, some of the staff were a little worried there were other family members smuggled along for the fun. Once we had arrived safely with jubilant cheers, it was the moment the children had all been waiting for – finding out who their ‘roomies’ would be for the week. The children then settled into Owen Block, unpacked their bags, and got ready for their first line-up of activities: zip wires, orienteering or abseiling. There were smiles galore from everyone!
Throughout the week the children completed seven activities each day, with the last session concluding at 8.30pm! They also had a good twenty minutes in between events to catch up with the rest of the year group and of course enjoy mealtimes together. There was an abundance of freshly prepared, healthy meals each day which the children enjoyed. One of the biggest highlights of the week was to see Mr Rice and Mr Worthington go ‘head-to-head’ in a dance off during the ‘silent disco!’ Let’s just say you had to be there as what happens at Condover, stays at Condover!
Everyone had a wonderful time, the weather stayed fine and the children were able to take full advantage of everything Condover Hall offered. During the activities, it was great to see how much they encouraged each other: suggesting where they could improve or what needed doing in a situation, being supportive and constructive. They helped to push each other to the next level of achievement and praised their peers for what they had done well in true AKS spirit. It was also wonderful to see the children make new relationships and extend their friendship circles outside of the classroom environment – it really allowed them to form a different appreciation of each other.
After a fantastic week away, it was a definite big thumbs up for Condover Hall and to all the JCA staff (Groupies as they liked to be called) that made the experience so special. The children were a pleasure to be with and their behaviour and attitude was exemplary! It was wonderful to hear such high praise for our children from the team at Condover. The children loved being with their friends in the dorms and drinking slush puppies in the sunshine! However, the biggest challenge many of the children faced was finding all their clothes and fitting them back into their suitcases on the last day!
A huge thank you to all the teachers too who supported the children during these 5 days away! Mrs Mirza, Mrs Dickson and Mr Worthington – you all helped make lots of memories that will not be forgotten during this ultimate adventure trip!
Well done to everyone who tried something new, did things they found scary or difficult and indeed often exceeded the challenge given. Here is a snapshot of just some of the activities the children enjoyed in their jam-packed itinerary.
Giant Cluedo – Who killed Billy the banana? An amazing evening activity in which instructors initially set the scene by performing a short story to the groups while dressed in character. The children then enjoyed meeting and interrogating their suspects, (Charlie Chilli, Kelly Ketchup, Max Mustard, Harry Hotdog and Chris Carrot) and tried to piece together the clues to find the culprit guilty of the crime. By the end of the challenges, each team was able to work out which character committed the crime, in which location and with which weapon – all taking place inside the spectacular Condover Mansion.
Laser Conquest - Exclusive to Condover Hall and taking place in a giant inflatable arena, participants roamed around an area searching for the opposition. Once they came across an opponent, they targeted their foe with their laser to try and take down the other team. The team-building nature of Laser Conquest brought the children together to conquer goals, encourage intuition, spontaneity and of course was a lot of fun!
Zip Wire – The children flew through the air like monkeys, swinging under a forest canopy! Attached by a harness, participants travelled down the zip wire from the purpose-built platform. This activity helped develop trust and confidence through participation.
Sensory Trail - Blindfolded, the children followed a rope course through trees which led them over and around obstacles encouraging them to rely on their senses. During the activity, participants used and developed their senses through a series of tasks and games. The group had the chance to reflect on how losing one of their senses felt and to consider others who have lost some of their senses. They were able to develop an understanding of how communicating using other senses can enhance other skills.
Dance Mania - Encouraged young performers to work together to create a super dance. A great session all the children enjoyed together, learning a new group dance in time for the Silent Disco at the end of the week!
Silent Disco - Hilarious to watch and even more fun to participate in. Disco has never been so much fun with wireless headsets and a choice of two channels, so you only listen to the music you like. There were plenty of classics, so it was a terrific opportunity for the children to socialise. If groups had taken part in the Dance Mania Session, then their songs were played so that they could perform their routine once again
Gladiator Wall – This activity involved climbing through obstacles whilst being suspended high in the sky. This was a tough challenge to complete and not for the faint hearted.
Trapeze - A tower with blocks on either side that helped you to climb further. You had to reach onto the top platform, then jump off into the air and grasp the metal bar hanging in front.
Climbing Wall and Abseiling - Always at the top of children’s lists is the challenge of reaching the top of the purpose-built climbing towers. This session was great for developing self-confidence and trust in each other. After a thorough safety briefing and tips on effective techniques from qualified instructors, the young climbers each got the chance to summit the tower while being encouraged by their peers. Participants were shown how to safely belay the climber as part of a group alongside their instructor.
Campfire – The residential trip would not be complete without a traditional campfire! An evening activity for the whole group, everyone picked a spot around the fire and participated in a mini talent show. The children were encouraged to share stories while groups or individuals performed songs or any other talent they chose in this comfortable outdoor scenario.
Raft Building – A group activity where each team had to use their initiative, creativity, communication and teamwork to design and build themselves a raft. We started off dry, with each group having barrels, poles and rope to build with. Boats were then tested on the water which was great fun and very wet!