Students on the Blue Skies Leadership programme from Barnes Wallis Academy challenged themselves in their sixth session on the RAFC Cranwell high ropes.
Whatever challenge the high ropes would bring the students, how they responded to it would be the learning for the day. Some students would face their fear of heights head on and others would look to take one step further than they thought they could. No matter what personal challenge or fear the students had looking high up at the pole they were yet to climb, all students would experience “I can” instead of “I can’t” and “I will” instead of “I won’t.” The power of positivity, peer support and encouragement, as well as personal mind over matter would be key elements in how the students would tackle the challenge ahead.
On arrival, students were instructed by SAC Kira Skerrett on how to put on their harnesses and perform various checks on one another. With anticipation, the first four students ascended the pole to a small square platform to balance on.
Whilst our military volunteers, teachers and JETLO were responsible for the belaying of the climbing students, the other students were responsible for guiding and motivating them to do their best.
“The motivation from others really helps.” Student, 15
Remarkably all four students (Amy, James, Josh and Tia) got to the top and supported and balanced each other so not to fall. The focus, determination and trust you give to one another in order to achieve this is incredible, especially as the pole gets very wobbly and cramped with four people and nothing to hold onto but yourselves!
Following the success of the first team, the second ascended. They too accomplished and lifted themselves to go that bit further than they initially wanted to, each having their own goals to reach or surpass.
The next challenge included another ascent followed by a see-saw on which to balance four people at the top!
This area of the high ropes course had a range of activities that were used to challenge individuals as required. Some walked across a beam, others across a double rope walk and some jumped from platform to platform.
The tallest activity was the “leap of faith” standing at 13m high. A number of students and staff alike drew upon the confidence that they had built previously to climb independently to the great height and step off the platform. Amy, James, Josh and Trystan all took the leap!
Throughout the day, students had to use positive phrases to instil confidence and motivation in the climbers whilst not being too forceful. They learned to project and control their voices to be heard at height by the person needing to hear them. Much of this learning took place naturally and authentically but proved vital for the individual successes that took place.
“The activities from today were good because it took me out of my comfort zone and made me feel free.” Liam, 15
All of our students should be proud of their own personal achievements and should take forward the knowledge that they can influence the success of others.