Orchard Mead students step out of their comfort zone

Just before February half term, 11 Orchard Mead Gold students took part in a canoeing session as part of Rewards Week. We’ve partnered up with the Canal and River Trust who manage 2000 miles of waterways across the UK to engage more young people to get outdoors and engage with nature. Setting off from Kilby Bridge Maintenance Yard, students worked together to paddle rafted canoes along a stretch of the Grand Union Canal. Stopping halfway, we made hot chocolate and had biscuits to fuel the journey back. Students embodied the Orchard Oath and what it means to work hard, be kind and be responsible and we can’t wait to take more Gold students at Easter.

Throughout March, five girls are undertaking a 4 week canoeing programme. This provides an opportunity to make new friends, work as a team whilst stepping outside their comfort zone. The first session coincided with International Women’s Day – what better way to showcase our strong willed, passionate young women? It also marked the start of a 3 day cold snap which ultimately brought large parts of the UK to a standstill with heavy snow. Despite challenging weather conditions, all the girls were incredible! They displayed grit and determination without complaints of the cold. We retreated to a group shelter for hot chocolate to escape the blizzard conditions. By the end of the first sessions, they had gelled well as a team and were looking forward to the next session – albeit hoping for slightly warmer weather!

A common theme during all paddling sessions was the calming influence that being near to water has. Everyone felt relaxed and able to slow down and notice what’s around them – a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of day life. Life really is better by the water!