Read Callum’s excellent blog as he experiences our annual residential for the first time as a Peer Mentor:
I had mixed emotions meeting up with the group to go to our annual trip to Pembrokeshire in south Wales. I felt both excited and also quite nervous. I felt very excited because I went two years ago on this residential and I know how good of a week it is! However I did also feel nervous because this year was slightly different for me as I was taking up a new role as peer mentor and I went last time as a young person.
The nerves very quickly left me as I got to know this wonderful group of young people and staff! As soon as we got to Pembrokeshire we got into our rooms did our bed sheets and then we all went outside and played some games together. We gelled very quickly as a group especially as we didn’t know one another to begin with.
The week was full of great memories and highlights but I am going to discuss a couple with you starting with our first full day on the Monday. This will stick in my mind for some time because of the dreadful weather and I am talking dreadful! It just didn’t stop raining! The activity we did wasn’t exactly great for this weather either… we went crabbing. I bet you are wondering now why on earth was this a highlight, well I will explain all. It’s just the fact that everyone got stuck in to the activity and had a really good go despite the awful weather we had to put up with. Everyone encouraged each other and it just showed how tight of a group we were even though we had only just met each other just 24 hours prior. After we went crabbing we went to the high ropes, already totally wet and freezing but still every young person and staff member took part.
Another highlight for me was on the final day when we all went Coasteering. We always do this last because it’s the scariest, the most thrill seeking and some would argue most fun activity of the whole week. I say some would argue the most fun because I am one of those people who would argue its actually not because I am not a lover of water, I can’t swim and I am petrified of water. Again I bet you are all wondering why on earth I would say this is one of my highlights, again I will explain. Everyone supported each other throughout the activity and stuck together as one big team. A couple of us who couldn’t swim and this included me, held each other’s hands for support. The instructors were incredible! They reassured us that the equipment we had would do its job and it didn’t matter that we couldn’t swim. I promise you if it wasn’t for this group of people I wouldn’t have taken part in this activity on the two occasions that I have been on this residential.
The final highlight I am going to share with you is every single night we spent together. At about eight o clock we would all gather together in one of the buildings that we stayed in. We named this building the white house, you guessed it because it was white! We played games together that included Uno, Poker and Dobble. It was so lovely and it just felt like we were one big family. There was a tuck shop available to get drinks, sweets and chocolate from, so yes the essentials! We also some nights had a film on which was nice after a long day Kayaking, Canoeing or getting wet!!
My favourite day overall was Wednesday this was when we went to the smallest city in Europe St David’s. It was such a wonderful day! We went on speed boat for a wildlife boat trip. It was so much fun! The speed boat going over the waves was the feeling you have when you go on a roller-coaster at Alton Towers. Also we saw some beautiful wildlife! We saw some seals which were just the cutest and when you live far from the sea, it made it even more incredible! After the speed boat we all went onto St David’s were we walked around in little groups. We had a look around the Cathedral which was beautiful and we had a look around the local shops were most people brought gifts to take home. We then ended the day with an ice cream which is tradition and I can’t describe to you how tasty that was!
On the Thursday night we all gathered around the camp fire for our final night of the residential. One of the youth workers who are renowned for creating silly/comical songs sang one and we all joined in. It was one of many comical moments this week. The song was called the shark song (don’t ask you have to be there trust me) then after, we all went around the camp fire and in turn said what our highlight was and what we got out of the week. The perfect end to a perfect week if you ask me (and hopefully everyone else!)
Although I’ve only touched on a couple of the activities we did over the week they were all equally as fun. Activities this week included crabbing, high ropes, Climbing/Abseiling and Bouldering, surfing, and Wildlife boat tour, Kayaking / Canoeing and Coastering.
Overall this has been an extremely positive experience for me; It was a great chance to experience a residential as a peer mentor. Not only did I get to experience all the activities again for the second time (very fortunate I know) but I also got to see all the young people experience the activities too and for some of the young people it was their first time. The young people looked like they really enjoyed the week and I enjoyed seeing them gain confidence from all of the challenges they overcame and new experiences they had during their week, It was great to encourage them and I hoped I helped.
I really hope I get the opportunity to experience this again in the future! Roll on next year!