Eight teenagers headed on another weekend away to Kidderminster! It was a weekend of madness and mayhem… but also something extremely special, as 15-year-old CHECT member Theo Sergiou explains…
We arrived on the Friday evening at around 6:30pm, of course me (as usual) arriving at two hours later, missing dinner. However when I arrived my nerves flew out of the room – I was so excited that I wanted everything to go to plan and for us to have such an amazing time.
When I stepped through that door, the nerves I believed I had just vanished as six complete strangers who I have never met before chanted my name while a row of high fives was lined up for me!
We sat down and immediately got to know each other with weird and wacky name games. The games we played left us all in stitches and left CHECT support worker Julia in a woolly hat, scarf, gloves, a knife and fork and a face full of chocolate.
While we all got chatting I didn’t even realise my parents had left and our team of people started becoming some sort of family.
That night, after an intense round of two truths one lie, we started to get to know each other really well; that night the boys and the girls separated and ‘went to bed’. I remember smiling that whole night, as in the bedroom there was rap battles, dances, card games and failed pranks.
It was only until a knock at door by the one and only CHECT volunteer Graham – nicknamed *Jack Whitehall* – when he showed us how thin the walls were and told us how much he has been loving the raps, but now he would like to go to bed, that we turned off the lights and lay on our beds.
None of us were able to sleep because we were so buzzing with energy, so out came all the Rb stories. One by one we told our stories in a lot of depth about what happened, how it affects us and what it means to us.
I’m not sure about the others but I’ve never gone into that much detail about who I am and what I feel about it. Everyone listened so well and understood why I was getting angry, sad, confident at points and when they told me their stories I realised that no-one’s stories are the same but the one thing we all had in common is that we all don’t let it get us down.
The first day
At 6:00am we were woken by my alarm clock. We met up with the girls and went down to breakfast, letting them know about the magical night we just had. Our first activity was at around 10am, which was the the Big Bounce Challenge – humongous inflatables with an obstacle course, football pitch, basketball net, we went wild!
Clearing the challenge course without breaking a sweat and inventing new ways of challenging ourselves like going backwards, hands behind our back, was great fun.
After this we attempted the climbing wall. There was me bragging about how easy it is and how I am going to have a race with the others – I got to the climbing wall and froze, watching everyone else do it so swiftly and confidently.
When I was strapped in, I blanked out, everyone was trying to get my attention but I was just petrified, I thought I couldn’t do it. I told the instructor to unstrap me, but with me promising people “if you go to the top, I’ll go to the top”, I guess I couldn’t let them down.
Gemma, the play specialist at the Royal London Hospital and I reached the wall and we just went for it! Even though we were stopping and starting every two seconds with Gemma shouting “I’m right behind you!” eventually I reached the top, screaming, looking down to see Gemma right at the bottom of the wall.
They pulled me down (as I was screaming too much to abseil properly), when I reached the bottom and gave everyone a hug I felt as though I’d lost the barriers I’d put in front of myself.
Into the evening
We returned back to the cabins and just chilled, watching Top Gear, creating a blindfold obstacle race and even creating structures out of marshmallows and pasta. The competitiveness of the group reached an all time high, everyone was trying their hardest to make these marshmallow towers stand, they were amazingly tall! Until the last five seconds…
When we all sat round the campfire, I felt the passion that everyone had for each other, I could honestly say at that moment we were a family. We trusted each other because we found someone who has the same ambition as me.
Returning to base at around 11pm most people went to bed, that’s apart from Jordan, Harry, Patrick, Graham *Jack Whitehall* and myself; we played the most intense game of hangman I’ve ever experienced, turning into a science competition of who knows the fanciest words!
The Uno came out and then the deck of cards and then we decided it was time to wrap things up for the night and get ready for the next day.
Day two dawns bright and early
The morning arose, with my alarm waking us up at 6am again and everyone rushing to pack their stuff. We all realised that the challenge course was going to be our last activity, so we all wanted to make sure that it would be one to remember and it was!
We all had to cross a number of obstacles, eg tunnel of terror, cheese grater, barrels and so many more. After going round once, our competitive spirits asked for a relay race around, each person choosing their own obstacle. Everyone was in hysterics at what was going on and we weren’t actually sure who won! We had so much fun, we could not stop smiling the whole way back, making it immensely hilarious writing goodbye messages to all.
We were supposed to be preparing for our parents arriving, but we just chatted and chatted away, about how we’ve all done things that we never thought we would do, talk about things that we would not normally talk about to anyone and felt ambition and purpose we’d never felt before.
The weekend had made every single one of us a different person, had made us understand more about ourselves and taught us that we shouldn’t be thinking about what we can’t do, but how we can.
As we met each other and told them all the embarrassing stories, we never really wanted it to end – there were so many questions I wanted to ask, ideas I wanted to share and people that I wanted to meet! It took me away from everything I had to do at school or home; I didn’t worry about my GCSEs or the mocks that were coming up next week. I felt special and excited for what is yet to come, I understand who I am. Thank you CHECT!