Juniper Hall adventure weekend!

Juniper Hall Eco Adventure Residential

On a lovely, sometimes wet, Autumn weekend Leatherhead Youth Project (LYP) were invited, by the Field Studies Council (FSC), to bring a cohort of twelve young people to Juniper Hall to experience a weekend of adventure, discovery and most importantly fun.

The young people were full of excitement and anticipation and could not wait to get going. For many of them this would be their first time being away from family on a residential trip. After a short drive we arrived at Juniper Hall.

We dropped our bags off at our rooms and had a welcome tour. After the tour we all sat down and ate dinner together. This was a great opportunity to bond as a group and build new friendships. After dinner we set off on our first activity… Mammal trapping!IMG_5734

After being instructed on how to fill and put the traps together we set off into the grounds to hide the traps. The young people loved exploring the area trying to find the best place to hide their trap. After a while searching around in the dark, camouflaging the traps, we all sat together and listened out for bats using a bat detector. Our instructor led the young people on a bat hunt which caused a huge amount of excitement, especially when we heard a bat. One of our young people even spotted it for a brief moment!

Day two packed in even more fun, excitement and adventure as first we headed down to check the mammal traps. Unfortunately, we were not successful in trapping any mammals overnight. This didn’t put our young people off, they re-stocked and reset their traps and hid them once again. We then set off to explore Box Hill and enjoy the stunning views that were on offer.

For a lot of our young people the trek alone was challenging as we traversed difficult terrain and walked around four miles in total. The shelter building was a particular highlight amongst the young people. It was great to see them getting involved and learning to work together. We sat and ate our lunch together. The young people loved interacting and playing on all the fun play areas and enjoyed the walk through the woods. We made it up to the view point at Box. It was at this point that the young people also took the opportunity to roll down Box Hill. The sight of all twelve of our young people rolling down Box Hill in unison was quite something! We started our descent down to the Stepping Stones. For some, crossing the Stepping Stones was quite a challenge. It was great to see them all going across and encouraging each other.

IMG_5733When we got back to base the weather took a turn for the worse and started to rain… a lot! Fortunately, this didn’t dampen our spirits. After dinner we were all so excited to see that the rain had stopped as this meant that we were able to have a camp fire! The camp fire was a hit amongst the group, we all sat around and sang songs and toasted marshmallows.

Our final day at Juniper Hall saw us take on an orienteering challenge. Our young people split off into pairs and were given a map of the grounds. Watching the young people working together and helping each other out was great to see, it really felt as though they had all became very close as a group. The first pair to complete the challenge were crowned champions of orienteering. One of the winners, looking very pleased with themselves, said “I’ve never been called a champion before”. For me, this is why we run projects like this weekend away, to give young people the space to grow in confidence and improve their self-esteem is key in the work that we do as LYP. The weekend was a huge success, the young people loved the experience of being away from home and learning new skills.

At the end of the trip we asked the young people fill out a feedback form about their experiences of the trip. Below you can see some of the responses we got from the questions they were asked.

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What did you enjoy most about the trip?

“Being with my friends. Making new friends and I felt confident about everything”.

“Climbing Box Hill”.

“The animal traps and rolling down Box Hill”.

“I enjoyed adventuring and rolling down Box Hill”.

“We got to bond”

What did you find most challenging about the trip?

“The challenging thing about the trip is that we had to climb Box Hill and making the dens”.

“Going out for the weekend without my family”.

“Making my bed, it was so hard”.

“Taking part in the shelter building”.

 

How has the trip changed you, or how you think?

“The trip changed me because I had a fear of heights”.

“Taught me how to make a bed”.

“It has made me more confident about myself”.

“I know how to make a den properly”.

 

Overall what did you think of the trip?

“I think this trip was awesome because it was full of amazing opportunities”.

“Everything was amazing because we did loads of fun trips”.

“I think it was awesome. Now I think I can sleep 2 nights away”.

“This trip was amazing if I ever have the chance I will come back”.

“I thought it was really good because we get to go out to different places”.

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