Greetings from MyY in the United Kingdom! | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

Greetings from MyY youth leaders in the United Kingdom!

August 15th, 2014 by wptest

By: Maggie Buxton Simpson, YMCA Geneva Park Program Coordinator

In early August, a group of six youth leadership participants, ages 16 and 17, left for the first trip to visit our new international partners in the United Kingdom. Over the course of three weeks, participants will work with volunteers from around the world, experiencing a global perspective while building healthier communities. Here is a recap of their time at Fairthorne Manor so far, from staff chaperone, Maggie. Maggie has worked at YMCA Geneva Park for the last 5 summers, and has been visiting the park with her family since she was a child.

The YMCA Youth Leaders embark on a three-week journey to the United Kingdom.

We arrived at Fairthorne exhausted from our long trip. After taking a short time to get settled in our rooms, we were taken on a site tour. There were children everywhere! Gone was the densely forested, laidback feel of YMCA Geneva Park.

Our first impression of Fairthorne Manor was that of a vast field. Scattered throughout was a handful of big white tents, and so many kids — it looked like there were about a million of them, running and screaming, falling down and getting up. The energy coming off of them was a vibrant, chaotic happiness that was in stark contrast with our jetlagged selves. Thankfully, we had the weekend to catch up on sleep and get acquainted with our new environment.

We began the first day of our training with Jacob’s ladder, a giant ladder suspended in the air. There are only six rungs, but as you move from one rung to another, the space increases between them. To increase the level of difficulty, you climb up the ladder in pairs, wearing blindfolds. That’s kind of how it is at Fairthorne; you do seemingly impossible things like it’s no big deal. You do them all day, regardless of your age and ability. I watched seven year olds with painted faces rock climbing. It’s surreal and fantastic!

Next up we did a blind trail: an obstacle course done with our entire team, approximately an hour in length — blindfolded. We crawled and climbed through hills, tree branches, roots, nets, puddles… and left the course covered in mud. It was awesome!

Follow along with MyY Geneva Park on their visit to Fairthorne Manor in the UK.

After we were done with our activities and challenges for the day, the leaders wanted keep going! I was flabbergasted. Aren’t these supposed to be the kids who just want to sit around on their iPhones and keep up with the Kardashians? Not these kids, not here. I watched them Tarzan-swing over a giant mud puddle completely of their own accord. It was profoundly delightful and profoundly confusing.

The next day, we started working with the kids. The YMCA youth leaders are thriving exactly to the extent I was expecting. I can see already that they are becoming heroes to some little people and it is very exciting.

I am very proud to say “I’m with them.”

Want to follow along with the MyY youth leaders throughout their visit to the UK? Stay turned to the YMCA Geneva Park blog page for more updates!

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