The Junctions Malvern residential 2018 (October 5th – 7th)

As the course director, and the instructor running the residential, I felt like the residential went really well and you could see the progress the young people made within a short space of time.

Upon first arriving, the group were boisterous and didn’t have the best listening skills. It was hard work getting them to listen to any of the information I tried giving them. After they were settled in their rooms I came up to do a talk about the fire drill, rules around smoking and the areas they were & weren’t allowed in. They were quiet & listened attentively to the instructions and stuck to the boundaries they were given.

On a whole the first meal time was unacceptable. The chat around the table was people making digs at each other, a plate was flipped resulting in burger and chips ending up on the floor, and generally a very charged atmosphere. Karen (the area youth worker at The Junction) dealt with this situation very well and set boundaries for the young people so that they knew that kind of behaviour  wasn’t acceptable. The two members of the group involved where sent outside to sort themselves out. Upon return the pair apologised and cleaned up the mess they made.

Following on from this, there was a marked improvement in behaviour and attitude. The group sat and talked to each other around the table, and it was a much calmer atmosphere in the dining room. The young people cleared away after themselves and everyone waited for each other to finish before leaving the dining room.

When on activity, the group listened to the instructions and on a whole threw themselves into the activities wholeheartedly. The young people helped each other by looking after the ropes whilst other people were having a go, and everyone waited their turn. Getting to the end of the session the group did get restless and their attention started to go, but with the promise of a break they managed their behaviour.

Positive progress could be seen individually as well as amongst the whole group. One member of the group was scared on the first day refusing to take part in the high activities and throwing his helmet on the floor when a comment was made to him regarding his fear of heights. However, by Saturday afternoon he was having a go on Jacobs Ladder, getting to the second highest rung! The individual had simply dropped his bravado and faced his fears, with results of a very proud achievement.

It can also be seen by another individual pushing themselves within the activities. After having done Jacobs ladder one young person wanted to do Jacobs ladder again, whilst the rest of the group went and de-kitted. He had another go on the activity to try to get a better time. The following day the same individual did a quad pole 4 times with other people in small teams, trying to improve and get better. A refreshingly high level of determination and perseverance was clear, and an evident improvement compared to what wasn’t the case for this particular individual at the beginning of the first activities…

From when the group first arrived to when they left, there was a major change. The leaders gave clear boundaries and expectations of the young people and mostly, the individuals stayed within those boundaries. When behaviour slipped, the young people were able to recognise why such behavior wasn’t okay, and they willingly apologised afterwards before getting fully involved again with the following activities. With regards to the activities, the group listened and did their best to follow the safety information that was given.

I hope the young people were able to take something away and use the practical skills they’ve learnt during the residential in their everyday lives. As well as recognising their own achievements and how well they can come together as part of a team!