On 16th May, some of the older pupils went on Abingdon House’s annual residential trip to Stubbers Adventure and Activity centre in Essex. The aim of the trip is to help them with their independence skills as they have to use a checklist to pack their suitcase, get their bedding ready, get themselves showered and dressed for the day’s activities and organise their belongings so they don’t get lost among everyone else’s. They also get to enjoy plenty of outdoor space and try some activities that they may not have tried before.
On the first day, the pupils were split into three groups and had two activities: team challenge and climbing. In team challenge, the pupils had to work together to solve different problems including balancing a large seesaw, climbing through a large spider’s web without touching the ropes and using ropes to control a pulley and move some objects inside a cage. The pupils found some of the challenges tricky but agreed by the end that they worked better as a team.
In climbing, pupils were responsible for helping each other climb a 13-metre wall. One pupil would climb the tower whilst two of the team mates would belay to help with the tension on the rope. Although it was pretty scary, most pupils gave it a go and some even managed to reach the top.
That evening, pupils were led on a walk around the grounds of Stubbers and climbed to the top of South Hill where they played some games and they all particularly enjoyed rolling back down the hill as we headed back towards the camp. The evening was not over though as some pupils played football with Mr Banfield whilst others went to ‘Club Smash’ where there was table football and table tennis available as well as Mr Lloyd’s and Miss Abando’s favourite, ‘Just Dance’. Everyone had a great time joining in the actions on screen and seeing their score at the end of the song.
The next day, pupils woke up nice and early and got ready for the day’s activities. The pupils split up into their groups again and headed for their activities. There was sailing, inflatable sofa rides, archery and high ropes. Sailing involved pupils pairing up and preparing their boats ready to sail on the lake. Everyone was able to get out onto the lake and had some fun sailing around trying to avoid the other boats and then get back to the jetty and make it onto land without getting wet.
The inflatable sofa has been a favourite among students since our very first visit and involves four pupils sitting on a large inflatable sofa which is pulled around the lake by one of the instructors on a jet ski. They have to hold on tight or risk falling off which was actually the aim for some of the pupils. They all had a great time and some pupils have already said they can’t wait to do it again next year.
The high ropes proved a challenge for some but was really enjoyable for those looking for an adrenaline rush. Pupils had to make their way around a course a few metres off the ground whilst held on by a harness. The course involved a small gap to jump across, a balance beam, a rope bridge and a swinging bridge. Some pupils were even brave enough to try the next level up and did incredibly well to make it all the way around.
Archery is another activity that we do regularly; pupils are always happy to take part and try and hit the bullseye which some of the pupils managed to do. Once comfortable with the bow, pupils could take part in different challenges where they had to hit and arrow in each different colour of the target or try to beat the instructor.
Our final activity before dinner was laser tag where all the groups joined together. Unfortunately, there are no pictures as all of the staff were too busy taking part in the activity but everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves and wished the session could have gone on longer.
That evening, pupils were able to wind down with a movie before gathering around the campfire as it started to get dark. Everyone was talking about their favourite activities and how much they want to do it all again.
On Friday morning, each group had one more activity, either archery or high ropes depending on what they had done the day before and then it was time to pack their bags and head for the coach back to school. Some pupils slept on the coach, exhausted from an action-packed few days and others talked about how much of a great time they had and how they would love to go back next year. It was really great to see them have so much fun as well as see them take responsibility for getting themselves ready each morning and night.