Liverpool YMCA provides residents with the chance to attend The Lakeside Residential that the organisation holds three times per year. This includes a three night stay at YMCA Lakeside located on the shores of Windermere, where they can engage and take part in outdoor activities.
The aim of the residential is to provide residents from our accommodation projects the chance to experience a different side of life, something some residents have never experienced before. It also helps to improve self esteem, awareness and confidence, along with helping to enhance personal wellbeing.
Two staff and five residents, from three projects set off on the Monday morning loaded with excitement, anticipation and camaraderie. The residents had never met each other before. The journey there was spent playing the card game Blackjack and arguing in a friendly way about who knew the right rules. It was all good fun.
We were greeted on arrival by our instructor Dan who showed us to our lodgings and explained what the program we were assigned would consist of. Three days of excitement and adrenaline lay ahead but first we needed food. Off to the canteen for lunch.
The afternoon session consisted of simple exercises that expressed the importance of communication and teamwork and also the importance of supporting each other. The lads did well and completed all exercises in good time. It was followed by one of the obstacle courses where the previous learning from team building came into play. It was completed with a sense of pride and victory. It was then we did the archery session and Liverpool YMCA has a couple of Robin Hood candidates. Kevin Costner, beware!
Tuesday was group canoe day when we paddled to one end of Windermere and completed a seven mile fell walk that seen us climb Gummers How. Energy for the journey was provided by a packed lunch from the Lakeside canteen and we stopped off within Astley’s Plantation to eat our lunch. We also practiced our bush craft collecting some dry firewood that the residents used to light a fire and we sat around and expressed our thoughts on the beautiful countryside.
Tuesday was taken up by the canoe paddle and the long walk. We all spent the night watching DVD’s and falling asleep early. Plenty of zzzzzzzzzzz’s
Wednesday was a day of tired legs but the enthusiasm was still evident and we started the day with the orienteering session. We were given two courses to complete and yes the the guys we support were brilliant. The staff team were beaten but accepted that they were not good enough on the day. The afternoon session was one of adrenaline with the crate stack, abseiling and the zip line. The crate stack was done in twos and the aim was to stack the crates as high as possible whilst standing on them whilst being secured by harnesses. Both teams used all the crates and reached the amount of twenty high.
To be able to abseil, we first had to climb the climbing wall. Staff took a victory this time with staff member Jim climbing the wall only using his feet and one hand. Victory was ours! The zip line was about fifty feet high and was spread over a one hundred foot run across a part of the lake. It was brilliant.
Thursday morning was our last challenge and it was a team effort in the shape of an obstacle course made more difficult by the fact that we had to carry a bowl of water across the course without spilling any. Great team effort and we managed to get most of the water across J
A great few days were had by the whole team. An impact was made in many respects. Individuals faced their own personal challenges and worked through the fear to complete all the sessions. Two lads expressed an interest in doing some sort of outdoor work and training.
The banter and gratitude were evident in the mini bus on the way home. There was an expression of thanks and appreciation for Liverpool YMCA in showing our brilliant residents an aspect of what can be deemed as ‘normal’ in some respects for more people who are more fortunate.
Working for such a fantastic organisation with fantastic residents is just brilliant.