Despite the unsettled weather conditions, Oakham pupils overcame their D of E, CCF and Voluntary Action challenges admirably for Service Weekend. Held twice a year, the weekend provides an opportunity for students to build their confidence, resilience and skills, whether they are navigating across the countryside, scaling hillsides or serving the community.
Pupils working towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold D of E awards set off on their practice expeditions in various locations around the country, from the Yorkshire Dales to the Grand Union Canal! Pupils prepared for the expeditions themselves and had to carry all of their equipment and supplies with them over the course of the days. They enjoyed walking in the wild countryside improving their map reading and compass skills, canoeing down the Grand Union Canal and rowing on the Thames! Gold and Silver cyclists, meanwhile, successfully conquered tough and demanding terrain as well as steep climbs in North Wales.
Pupils involved in Voluntary Action assisted in a range of different activities to help make a positive impact in the community. One group put on a wonderful Harvest Party for hundreds of elderly members of the local community, including arranging the floral table decorations and serving them tea, coffee and cakes. Pupils also assisted at local primary schools.
Form 5 CCF cadets ventured to Cumbria to complete their adventure training. The mountaineers tackled Helvellyn including the famous Striding Edge whist the canoers learnt some basic skills culminating with sailing on a raft made from five canoes. Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Formers went to went to Stanford Training Centre (STANTA) near Thetford to conduct basic field craft.
Teacher of Geography Mr Daniel Greenfield tells us more about the Bronze D of E cyclists expedition:
“The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh cyclists were greeted by persistent rain on their arrival at Little Lodge Farm in Thetford Forest. Despite the inclement conditions, everyone quickly erected their tents and took cover. Once the rain started to ease, the groups prepared their evening dinner. They then tested their bikes in the nearby forest before heading into their tents early to prepare for the challenges of the following day.
On day 2, apart from a slight frost on the ground, the weather conditions were perfect for the two groups’ first cycle – sun and no wind. Everyone successfully completed a 50km circuit learning important lessons about navigation, teamwork and controlling a fully loaded bike.
On their return to camp, the students cooked a hot meal before collapsing for the night. On the final day of the practice, the two groups broke camp and embarked on a 25km cycle. Having learnt the lessons from the day before, they all cycled more efficiently and made good time. Everyone successfully completed the practice and they are all looking forward to the Rutland Service Weekend.”