CIS Tp, 8 Brigade were recently lucky enough to partake in a weekend of adventure training. This was possible thanks to the generous contribution of SE RFCA. The 12th August saw eleven members of CIS Tp attend an introduction to water sports day at Hawley Lake. The day included a plethora of different activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, wind surfing and raft building. The next day we were back down to Hawley, and this time onto the training area to conduct some competitive orienteering.
It was a glorious start to the weekend as Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day, perfect for engaging in some lake related challenges. We started by meeting our instructors and getting kitted out in all the appropriate gear. Certain Troop members were less than pleased about putting on a wet suit. Our first activity was kayaking. Initially we spent a few minutes getting used to paddling and keeping ourselves balanced. After we had got a feel for the water our instructors then informed us it was time to “play some games”. We played kayak football and very quickly learnt that our balance was not as good as we thought. We then played various other games such as fruit salad, a game where we blocked the kayaks together and had to switch places by running across the front and kayak Simon says. Not a single member of the Troop was dry by this point.
Our second activity was paddle boarding. Although this initially seemed a little more leisurely the instructors soon ramped it up with some competitive relay races between the teams.
Following a short break for a much needed lunch stop our third activity was wind surfing. After a brief introductory lesson where we were taught the parts of the board and how to steer and stay up right we were quickly back out on the water. Wind surfing was much more challenging that we had anticipated, especially as the wind couldn’t decide if it was blowing or not. Abilities varied greatly and a lot of us spent a great deal of time in the lake. Two of our number, Cpl Jones and Staff Gardner, showed significant prowess in their windsurfing abilities. Unfortunately, for the rest of us more practise may be required.
The climax of the day was a raft building competition. First we had to gather the resources needed to make a raft. Next came actually building the raft. As Engineers our raft building abilities were somewhat above the expectations of our judges and they threw in a curved ball, one member of each team was selected as a VIP who had to be sat on a secured chair on the raft. The race was only finished when back on the beach with your raft entirely disassembled and the parts there of put away. This was an excellent way to round off the day and really emphasised skills and attributes developed over the course of the day. During this task it was clear to see leadership and initiative, as those with superior skills in watermanship came to the fore. Courage and teamwork were also evident as people put their faith in each other and trusted their team . . . . .and their raft.
The second day of our adventure training was orienteering. Troop members were provided with a map and a card to mark with as many of the 35 possible stamps as we could find. We were told that about 15 was average. Nevertheless, it was the height of summer and the foliage around us was in full bloom, this made finding the markers somewhat more difficult. Our scores ranged from 3 – 11. Despite not finding as many markers as we would have liked orienteering was an excellent opportunity not only to improve our map reading, consolidating the lessons we have learnt in the classroom throughout the year, but also to develop our fitness levels and team working skills.
Thanks to SE RFCA we were able to go ahead with this training, the benefits of which have been clear to see. Troop members overcame personal fears and challenged themselves to work hard for the good of the team. The weekend a great success, which was enjoyed by all. Skills were honed and a strong team work ethic was further forged.