Public Services learned the importance of teamworking and a positive mental attitude on a trip to Blacklands farm on the 24th of September. Groups from the 1st and National Diploma courses spent 2 nights and 3 days at the bootcamp where they had to cope with the most basic of camping facilities and gruelling days of training and activities.
After a night spent sleeping in cold tents on hard ground, teens were roused at daybreak to face an early morning run before returning to prepare breakfast from dried rations. Activities ranged from the physically demanding to survival challenges in the woods and role playing for emergencies, such as coping with an injured companion in the wilderness. Despite the demanding conditions, students felt they had learned a lot from the experience and had made very close friendships as a result.
Toni Turner, 16, from Carshalton, said the intense circumstances forced people to modify their actions for the benefit of the team, ‘If you moaned about the circumstances you’d just bring everyone else down. There were definitely times we had to bite our lip! You realise how important it is to motivate one another,’ she said.
Euan Ward-Anderson, 16 from New Malden, had an altogether more challenging experience when he and his friends spent an hour lost in the extensive woodlands surrounding the camp. ‘It’s funny now but at the time it was a little scary,’ he said. ‘At one point I started worrying about how little water we had left but then we realised we had actually just gone in a complete circle around the camp!’ Asked what they had brought back with them from their experiences, many cited closer friendships, greater maturity or an enhanced understanding of the physical and mental challenges required from a career in the Uniformed Services.