Good evening Parents and Guardians of our Wye Valley Secret Agents,
Here's what you've all been waiting for...the all important update!
What a lovely send off our children had as we left Sholing and headed off for our Spy Training adventure! Thank you for waving and wishing us well on our travels!
We arrived safely and with no dramas. It was such a beautiful day to travel, especially as we got close to the Wye Valley and drove past its meandering River.
After arriving at the hostel, we promptly sorted ourselves for lunch. We sat out in the sunshine and met our activity leaders.
Once fed and toileted it was down to business - Dormitory Rooms! It certainly didn't take our agents long to settle into their new digs!
Agent Jet Weasel then met us and our activities began. First up...Agent names. Everyone had to use their initials to generate their name for the week. Nutty Walrus, Munching Piranha and Neon Cobra are now the new code name for the Sholing Junior Teaching Team here at the Wye Valley...you can just imagine what your children have called themselves!!
We've spent the afternoon decoding ciphers, locating items and images from around the site (testing their observation skills to the max!) and after a hearty dinner enjoyed by all, we're now all participating in our final activities for the day. Some are designing gadgets and some are learning/testing ways to retain information quickly and becoming super observers.
It's been a long but successful day. You can all breathe a sign of relief. :)
That's all for now, check back tomorrow evening to find out more of what our Spies have been up to.
Agent Nutty Walrus.
Who said we needed warm clothing on this trip!?! My goodness, the weather has been utterly sublime today! We have all enjoyed our monthly quota of Vitamin D today, I'm sure!
After a good nights sleep, Agents were up by 7am this morning and opening their curtains to find a wealth of pheasants just outside! The excitement about seeing nature this close up has infiltrated everyone! We're so lucky!
We ate a hearty breakfast and were soon being gathered in the paddock for our agents to regroup and get ready for their morning activities.
Group A were sent on a hike up the valley, mimicking the trek Alex Rider has to endure in his training to be an MI6 Agent. Along the way they had to keep themselves motivated show great resilience as the pathways got muddier and the valley got a lot steeper! It lead them through fields of unsuspecting deer and showed them spectacular views across the area.
Meanwhile...back at camp...
Group B were engaged in Archery, solving missions as they worked in teams to hit the target's colours in a given order. I have to say...we have some very skilled archers here at the Sholing Spy Academy!
Stinky Rabbit had a particularly accurate shot...deadly some might even say. Crazy Monkey even proved herself to be a very able Archer by hitting the target with all nine of her arrows. Amazing Work.
If it wasn't Archery that Group B were building their skills in, then it was the team challenges that got their minds ticking. In these challenges, agents learnt the art of communication. They learnt different ways of giving information to their group, how to keep their dialogue meaningful and clear, as well as following the communication accurately in order to achieve a group goal. The progress was staggering! Well, they were staggering. 5 children on 2 skis trying to get from one place to another, definitely meant that there was plenty of staggering going on! Emerald Crocodile's team however absolute blitzed the task, even achieving it going backwards! Outstanding!
After a lunch in the sun on the terrace, it was time for our afternoon activities. Group A spent their afternoon developing their bush craft skills by building shelters and creating fires. All agents need to be able to survive in the wild and our trainee agents certainly showed us that they were more than capable of making suitable accommodation for themselves and getting a roaring fire going for their evening meal. Well done!
Agents in Group B had a very important mission this afternoon. A very important mission. An MI6 agent was in trouble and it was their job to bring them safely home. The only problem, was that "EGG"bert was trapped in a rather tall building with only the prospect of launching themselves out the window as their means of "EGG"scape. Our Agents had to build something with limited resources for our "EGG"stra special Agent to land in piece. It was a "cracking" task. One in which many failed to achieve. However, if scramble egg was on the dinner menu, we would have eaten like Kings this evening! (We did eat like Kings by the way...just not with any eggs in sight.)
It has been another successful day here at the Wye Valley YHA and we're all looking forward to another scorcher tomorrow.
Signing off....Agent Nutty Walrus.
It's always the first question on all of the adult's lips in the morning to each other...How did you sleep? Did the children sleep well? And Mr Parnell's reaction was positively radiant!! He was so pleased with his 7 hours of sleep! As were we all.
We loaded up our agents with gigantic cooked breakfasts and sent them off to the paddock for their morning activities. Group A were given the activities that Group B did yesterday and vise versa. So it was off on the hike for Group B and Archery and Team Challenges for Group A.
Along Group B's hike, we saw and learnt many things. We collected King Alfred's Cakes - a great fire-lighting tool - we sauntered past a herd of cows with their calves and we had a mindful moment at the top of Coppice Hill. Our mindfulness minute allowed us to reflect on the journey we had made and to take in our surroundings properly. There was a real sense of pride amongst the children as well as a respect towards the nature and habitats we were enjoying. There were no complaints at all on our journey and it really sparked the children's thirst for adventure!
It was wonderful to hear upon our return that Group A had encountered some real "lightbulb" moments in their team challenges too. Mrs Cook...ahem...Agent Neon Cobra was impressed to see the children recognising their frustration in challenging situations and dealing with it in a respectful manner. Their communication skills had really blossomed over the past few days and I know all the adults her would agree that the children have really embraced working with different members of our year group and learning that they all have great gifts to offer.
Our lunch hour was probably the most serene hour of all, all 60 children played so well together that all the adults watched from the terrace with smiles and beams of pride. And if that wasn't enough to warm your cockles, a rather large collection of children also decided to create their own shop where stones were used as money and bartering was on offer...I mean who would want to miss out on the opportunity to have a "provided by nature" burrito (obviously, not actually eaten) or a bouquet of acorn casings and daisies?! It was a growing trade, and the stall is still open for business.
The afternoon consisted of more bush crafting - and what epic fires the children got going! And there were more "EGG"sellent contraptions built to save the doomed Special Agents. This time with more success!
Year 5 are now currently sat around the camp's bonfire, toasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs. I couldn't think of a better way to spend our last night here at YHA Wye Valley!
It's time for me to go and join them! Goodnight!
Agent Nutty Walrus