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Bracknell Forest Activity Week: Year 9

On Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th June most of Ranelagh’s year 9 students where lining up to pile onto large coaches ready to head of to Wales. There was a choice between 2 different destinations in Wales or an activity week that was based in Bracknell Forest. The Bracknell Forest activity week included many different mental and physical challenges that could be completed over the course of the week.

The week went kicked off to a good start on Monday the 11th when we visited Oakwood activity centre in Wokingham. We arrived at Oakwood in the school minibus just before 9:30 and from then the day was jam packed with all different sorts of activities. We were split up into 2 groups and went around the centre participating in the activities that were on offer. The first activity that was completed was the indoor climbing. We were led into a reception area where our foot where was changed into shoes that where more suitable for climbing, once dressed appropriately we were shown all health and safety rules to make sure that no body returned home with a broken arm or leg! Everyone gave the climbing a good go even if they were nervous to get going at first.

Straight after climbing was monster skateboarding, which is skateboarding on boards that have giant wheels. At first most participants fell over but after a few goes, plus encouragement from Miss Deakin and Mrs Rentell, everyone rapidly improved!

Next up on the agenda was the high ropes, this was definitely the most feared activity as people who were a little wary of heights sat on the table and chairs in the corner trying to hide away so that they would not have to participate. But once they realized that it was impossible to fall off the edge they gradually began to re-join the group again! Overall the course was definitely a challenge but was worth it.

After lunch we had two activities left, the low ropes and archery. The low ropes mainly focused on problem solving and team work. Although the term “low ropes” may sound far too easy, it took a lot longer to complete than the high ropes. Plenty of brain power had to be used to make sure every team member crossed the course. To end the day, we all had a go at archery, at first a few of the arrows did not make the target. But after some practice the game really became quite competitive. It was a good way to end the day of team work with a friendly competition to change things up!

On Tuesday 12th June we headed to Dinton Pastures Activity Centre in Wokingham. We arrived in the minibus just before 9:00 to start our new Adventure. As we looked over the agenda for the day, we could see it was packed with exciting new activities that we had never done before! We were split into two groups and were given a safety briefing about all the activities we were doing. The first activities we did were canoeing and sailing. We were led to the mini dock where we were instructed on how to paddle and sail. As we got in; some of us were nervous and scared, but we worked as a team and cheered each other on. We sailed off and took a tour of the island and nature around us. Soon after, we started to realise the pain of steering a boat and being careful not to capsize and fall in. Although some of us did end up falling in, we just laughed it off and encouraged each other not to give up and carry on.

Towards the end of canoeing and sailing, we had mini team games; in which we played world domination which made a lot of us competitive, but also gave most of the participants more courage in sailing and canoeing.

Next up, was lunch and after, paddle boarding. Paddle boarding focused on team coordination and team building. Although to some of us it seemed easy, it gave both teams an insight on working together with others and team communication skills. We were set team challenges, which involved a lot of team coordination and support.

It was a great day and we all came home tired and exhausted!

On Wednesday the 13th of June, we set off to Pizza Express at the Lexicon in Bracknell. As we were taken through the hygiene and preparation steps, we were given samples of some of the vegetable that are used as toppings for pizzas; this was a challenge for those who dared to try vegetables that they hated. Next, we were tested on a quiz; did you know that Pizza Express makes over 17,000 dough balls a day?  After the fun fact quiz, we were given our freshly kneaded dough and our tomato paste; we spread our tomato sauce and we were given mozzarella and a leaf of basil to spice up our pizza. Waiting patiently and eagerly, our pizzas had finished baking and smelt delicious. Rushing back to school, we all sat down and devoured our delicious smelling pizza. We then moved on to our next workshop before lunch; we made chocolate bars and lollipops with a wonderful lady called Rosie. Rosie showed us the moulds and how she uses a certain type of chocolate for her factory; which is tempered to keep it at a perfect temperature for making chocolate bars for them to settle easily. It was so delicious!

Towards the afternoon, we were introduced to a set of circus skills, we started off easily by balancing a feather on our fingers , after this it started to get harder; we went on to juggling with balls and hoops which required a  lot of concentration and partner coordination. We started to challenge ourselves more, by doing flips and tricks with diablos. We even tried group juggling which was really fun! We ended of the day with giant bubbles.

We really enjoyed these activities and it opened eyes on improving team working skill and working together with others.

Over Thursday and Friday, we were given the task of creating a healthy two course meal in groups; either a starter and main or main and dessert, within a £15 budget. The eventual winner’s initial thoughts were to create a Spanish atmosphere with their chicken, chorizo and prawn paella, but almost instantly their plans were destroyed after realising they had £1 left in their budget excluding the pudding after pricing up their items! This meant that unless they were going to buy a one-pound packet of sweets from Poundland, or take a trip to the reduced aisle, then they were going to have to change the main. Therefore, they completely changed their idea to an Italian style pasta dish with bacon, spinach and a low-fat cream sauce. To compliment this, they decided to make their own garlic bread, where they cut up a baguette and filled it with garlic, butter, parsley and parmesan. Finally, for dessert, they created a meringue with passion fruit, raspberries, strawberries and freshly whipped cream, to create the dream Pavlova. After a well-fought out battle and watching in suspense Mr Williams and Miss Deakin tasted our meals, listened to our presentations about ‘Being Healthy and Happy’, and surveyed our display boards, the winners went to ‘The Spice Girls’.

Overall, it’s safe to say everyone really enjoyed the week, getting to talk to new people and push ourselves to our physical limits was so rewarding. We would all recommend the Bracknell Activities week to the future Year 9s. Many thanks to Miss Deakin, Mrs Rentell and all the other staff who helped during this week.

By Kenzy Saif El Din, Jasmine Young, Maddie Baker