Since my last blog, we’ve had a few groups come through the centre, but each group has been quite small. For some of the groups the effort that we, as a centre, have put in to their visit is high. I ran a leadership week for a high school, then Dave had a corporate group with only two people, then there were two church groups and last week was four Duke of Edinburgh students.
Because of the small size of the groups, the brain tells you to relax, but you actually need to stay switched on to run the appropriate program for them.
A few of the groups have been doing more than just activities: it has involved leadership, personal and team development elements. Others were a wide age range of people; ten-year old girls to eighty year old pensioners. All have had their challenges.
For some of the leadership stuff, I had a template to follow, but had to read through it and decide on the parts I wanted to emphasise and know what information to pass on and how to deliver it. I tried some different reviewing techniques and some new team challenges too.
I was concerned with a group I had to take canoeing. A very versatile group. Some ten-year old girls, some parents and some senior members of society. Most had never been in a canoe before, others had done some a long time ago, and the girls paddle fairly frequently. A few wanted to play games, others wanted a nice gentle bimble. You get the picture.
In my head, I was trying to condense nine or ten different session plans to cover each need into one, suitable for all, morning activity. How do I balance all these needs? Thankfully the weather was much kinder than forecast so we were able to move around with relative ease, and after a few games and a journey we returned to the harbour with smiles all round.
After lunch I had the same group for archery and low ropes. Having spent some time with them in the morning, the afternoon was a blast and certainly a challenge for some of the older folk.
As for the Duke of Edinburgh students, I have been shadowing Rachael to learn how to run a week so that I can head them up in the future. I’m in my second week of it now, and it makes sense. The group we have this week is twelve strong, and there is a good buzz around the place, but last week was much quieter. Beth and I did get to take them canoeing on Loch Faskally which turned out to be rather stunning.
The quietness has given me time to think about some of my sessions. I have done a lot with groups of primary school aged kids, powering through, keeping them safe and entertained. But, I haven’t done as much with smaller groups of older teenagers or adults.
I found myself trying to conjure up session plans from the past to help these people get the most from their time with us/me. I need to spend some time thinking and planning for those times I will be on session with only a few people, when the time won’t pass just because there are ten of them and it just takes time for ten people to do anything.
I will have plenty of time to think in the coming weeks as I have a couple of holidays booked and with that some adventures, various training days and maybe some more quiet times and a chance to brainstorm with the other instructors.
I’m working tomorrow, but then from Friday I have a week off! I’ll be joining the Gap years on a touristy road trip to Fort William, Mountain Rescue training on Sunday, then a stay at Nethybridge for some weather-dependent adventures, and culminating in a lecture by Doug Scott down in Stirling.