Highdown Fun Day, July 11th 2019

35 excited Year 7s turned up for our Canoe Fun Day – the first ever hosted by Reading Canoe Club. It was held specifically for students from Highdown School who had completed a 5-week beginner’s course during April/May and June/July (a total of 48). It was intended to be part fun / celebration and part a test out of the skills they’d learnt.

Nigel and Jim were leading the sessions, with the assistance of top junior ‘coaches’ – Sam B, Alex T, Rachel N, Rory T and Joseph B, with Emily Neville demonstrating the slalom. The four teachers attending were kept firmly on bankside, at leastuntil games time.

The 35 were split into three teams – Red, Yellow and Blue – and got started with a sprint relay. That was in K1, K2 or K4, as preferred. Great racing, only two capsizes and the Red team came out on top.

Next up – Silly Slalom. Again a team race through and round the poles, with a bit of limbo and paddle-throwing-through-the-hoop for a good measure, to get a team time, with penalties for touching poles or missing any out.

Final activity was games on the water – tug of war, charioteering, who could cling longest to the top of Nigel’s slalom boat or, if that was all a bit too complicated, simply jumping off the platform for a swim.

Homemade chocolate banana cake and other goodies galore kept the Year 7s’ energy levels up and they all had a fun-charged day. We do hope we’ll see a few of them back as members to learn more skills. It would seem we might, judging from their enthusiastic comments. They were a lovely crew of enthusiastic paddlers and even the few, who were a little nervous at first, got out there and enjoyed themselves.

Thank you to the teachers – Mr Morris, Mr Lee, Mrs Sadler and Mr Walker – who transported the children down to us. They seemed very chilled, with little to do bar some counting!

Thanks to all the helpers, particularly Nigel for masterminding it.

A few quotes from the students on what they thought of the course:

This was a great experience and the chocolate banana cake is delicious”

It should have been longer. Epic, loved it. A longer week course.”

“I really enjoyed my time here.” “It was the most fun thing ever!”

I had lots of fun today. Very nice food, good games on the water. Great staff too. Overall it was a great fun experience.”

It was the best experience ever”