On Monday 17th October 2016, 25 year 6 pupils, 4 members of staff and a coach driver set the Sat Nav for Nutbourne in West Sussex. CYE, and headed off for a week of water-based activities at the Christian Youth Enterprise Centre near Chichester.
With much excitement (and even greater volume!), we arrived at the Sailing Centre just before lunch. We boarded the boat which was to be our home for the next five days, and were allocated our cabins and groups for the week. We spent the first hour unpacking and making our beds; a task that took many of us more than the allotted time-slot!
Monday afternoon saw the activities begin in earnest and for the first two days we rotated between the following: kayaking, rafting and the assault course.
Kayaking was one of the favourites of children and adults alike. After a detailed session explaining the technicalities, we were on the water, racing around the boat and trying our hardest not to float down to the next village! A quick break for hot chocolate and cake, then we were back on the water playing games: standing up in our kayaks, crawling along its body to give its nose an 'eskimo kiss' and wrestling on an upside-down kayak. Great fun.
Rafting involved working together in a small group to transform two canoes into one raft, complete with mast. We had to follow the instructions carefully and discuss the best way to build the raft using 'bits and pieces' from around the CYE centre! Once on the water, we raced our team-mates around the Chichester Channel and played a variety of games: making up songs, swapping places within the raft and seeing who we could soak the most!
The assault course was the best activity for team building. We had to guide one another over and across a series of obstacles using clear instructions and brains as well as brawn to do it as quickly and carefully as possible.
The following two days saw us rotate between three different activities: sailing, canoeing and archery.
We all loved sailing, especially when we saw the motor on the back of the boat! We took turns steering the boat along the Chichester Channel and were very keen to have a chance to hoist the sail!
Canoeing was great, wobbly fun. 2 children were given a canoe (complete with instructor!) to race around the water in. It was extremely difficult to control the canoe on the strong currents, especially for the poor children who got beached with an extremely hopeless Mrs Ross! However, after much practice (and even more hot chocolate), we were steady enough to take part in games: swapping canoes, splashing our friends and wrestling on an upside-down canoe. We became very adept at wrestling!
After all of the time on the water, it was lovely to be back on dry land for the archery. Surrounded by rolling fields and blue skies, we spent a wonderful two hours learning (or refining for many!) how to accurately aim and fire our arrows.
As CYE is the Christian Youth Centre, part of every day was spent reflecting about our experiences and how we can enjoy them more through the teachings in the Bible. We had a morning assembly each day, where the CYE staff shared with us their faith and reasons for being a Christian. We were invited to share in daily prayer and to consider how we can worship at any time, in any place.
To support this reflective thinking, each evening we took part in an activity which encouraged us to either work together cohesively or to consider the wonder around us:
Monday: team games on the field meant we had to listen to one other and have consideration for the suggestions of others.
Tuesday: a moonlight walk down to the beach gave us the opportunity to marvel at the beauty of the West Sussex countryside and the beautiful starlit sky.
Wednesday: an evening of calmness as we settled down to watch Nanny McPhee in 'The Snug' on-board the boat.
Thursday: our favourite - a good old-fashioned sing-song around the campfire!
Friday morning saw us sadly packing our things away and tidying our cabins, ready for the final dreaded room inspection! We had a super surprise however: a final rafting trip into the local village of Bosham to spend our pocket money in The Fudge Shop!
Although we were all very excited to be returning home to our families, it was with heavy hearts that we said goodbye to the wonderful CYE staff and thanked them for all of the fantastic opportunities they gave us over the 5 days away. In the words of one of our very own Year 6's, "Best trip EVER!"