Oakham students faced their D of E, CCF and Voluntary Action challenges with confidence for Service Weekend. Held twice a year, the weekend provides an opportunity for students to get out of their comfort zone, discovering more about themselves and the world around them.
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 Viking Way to the Solent! Pupils prepared for the expeditions themselves, and had to carry all of their equipment and supplies with them over the course of the challenge.
Bronze cyclists covered a variety of tracks, bridleways and lanes in Rutland and the Silver cyclists cycled the Viking way from Oakham to the Humber Bridge. All improved their bike handling over the course of the expedition and became better at working together as a team.
The Bronze and Silver walking groups braved the elements in Rutland and the Peak District respectively. With full packs and cheery starts, the pupils successfully navigated their way to arrive back at their finish points exhausted but satisfied with their achievement.
Gold sailors in the Solent practised boat manoeuvres and mooring under sail in the River Hamble, sailed over to the Isle of Wight as well as handled some tough navigation under choppy conditions.
Bronze canoeists overcame challenging hazards due to snow melt and overnight rain including rapids, locks and low bridge arches whilst paddling over 30km of the Grand Union Canal and the River Soar.
After finishing the expeditions, everyone returned to School with much greater confidence in their sailing, camping, canoeing and cycling abilities, and are now looking forward to their Assessed Expeditions.
A variety of different Voluntary Action activities took place throughout the weekend, from bag packing in a supermarket, helping out at The Lodge in Market Overton to planting a tree at All Saints’ Church for Oakham in Bloom. Pupils were also involved in organising and running the Spring Luncheon in the Small Barraclough, where fifty guests from the Oakham elderly community enjoyed lunch and a film.
Meanwhile, CCF recruits from Forms 4 to 7 ventured to Beckingham Training Camp for a jam-packed weekend of military activities. Adventure Training and CCF Officer Duncan Wright tells us more:
“Form 5 CCF cadets from both the RAF and Army sections spent their Service Weekend honing a range of military and life skills at Beckingham and also using the facilities at Army Training Regiment Grantham. The core training over the weekend was based around first aid with cadets being trained on how to deal with a wide range of scenarios that they might come across before being assessed by their instructors. Alongside that the cadets also travelled to Grantham to use the 25m range and the assault course there. Assisted by regular soldiers from 7 Regiment RLC, they conducted their qualification shoot which earned some of them marksmanship badges before being tested as individuals and teams on the assault course. Designed to develop not only fitness but also teamwork, the PTI took them around each obstacle before they conducted a final run through as a team, supporting each other over a range of obstacles including the cargo nets and 8 foot wall. Rounding off the weekend, they refreshed their navigation skills before going paintballing for a couple of hours.”