On 17th July nineteen Greenfield Community College pupils and two members of staff travelled to Morocco in North Africa as part of a World Challenge expedition. They had previously raised the £1000 for their place during the previous year including sponsored abseils, staff car washes, mufti-days and a race night to name a few.
The expedition proved to be a once in a lifetime experience for all who were involved and certainly lived up to and beyond expectations. It was split into three stages; a trek across the slopes of the high Atlas Mountains, a project phase where they renovated a run-down classroom and also a rest and relaxation day in Marrakech. The title ‘World Challenge’ couldn’t be more appropriate as it most definitely proved one of the toughest challenges of their lives to date. The extreme heat, with a peak of 56 degrees Celsius, proved very energy-sapping for the challengers whilst trekking over 45km during four days. Furthermore, a high proportion of this distance was travelling up steep inclines making it much harder and time consuming.
The second phase of the expedition saw the group facilitate their own individual and team skills to renovate an old classroom in a village 2000m high amongst the Atlas Mountains. It was a race against the clock to complete before the deadline before the end of the sixth day. The pupils worked tirelessly to ensure that they didn’t disappoint even combatting a group sickness bug throughout the second week. Particular attention was paid to managing the budget of what they could and couldn’t afford, organising specific skills of people into certain areas and ultimately creating a learning environment that will be truly special for the 6-14 year olds upon their return to the classroom.
During the two weeks all the pupils developed invaluable life skills that will help them develop into mature young adults and this expedition seemed the perfect way to round off their time at Greenfield Community College. The pupils were presented with opportunity to learn for themselves and as a team, making mistakes and learning from their experiences. Each student was given the freedom and guidance to assume the roles needed on an expedition (leader, budget holder, map reader etc) and whilst assuming these roles they learnt more about their own strengths and weaknesses within teams. The challengers certainly took ownership for their own expedition and whilst staff were their at every step to advise and support, they showed superb self-reliance and responsibility for themselves and their team. The life skills learnt on expedition will prove very helpful in future college or job interviews.
Many special memories were shared during the visit that will last a lifetime. For instance, it’s not every day you meet Olympic teams at the airport, walk up mountains 2500m high to see a local village football match, experience 56 degrees Celsius heat, teach fun games to young Moroccan pupils, paint animals on the classroom walls, sleep on a rooftop under the stars, camp and have a huge bonfire to toast marshmallows, jump into what seems like the worlds coldest river, shampoo your hair under a waterfall, experience a Moroccan Hammam sauna style spa, barter with Marrakech stall owners to get the cheapest price possible, eat an evening meal in the hustle and bustle of Marrakech square with thousands of people surrounding you, see animals such as a cobra, camel, mule and monkey, see circus acts, and of course not forgetting the fantastic treks over the first week and the feeling obtained knowing that you have played your part in making what was previously an old, run-down classroom into a creative learning environment that that will help develop and educate young Moroccan pupils. This brief account can only highlight a few stories with many more in the memory of those challengers who can share experiences and tales of their time in Morocco for years to come.
The challengers did their school, their families and most importantly themselves proud during this visit to Morocco. Well done to all challengers; Charlotte Allen, Samuel-Neil Bainbridge-Johnson, Lauryn Bennett, Caitlin Briggs, Alice Brown, Lucy Clark, Georgina Clifford, Holly Dargue, Emily Farrer, Kara Ward, Callum Francis, Tom Hunter, Adam O'Connor, Natalie Parkin, Eve Redhead, Amiee Reed, Dan Shaw, Frances Wade and Chloe Wise Stubbs.
The school is planning on running another expedition to an unconfirmed destination in the summer of 2014 for the current year 9s through World Challenge. More details and an assembly will follow during the autumn term where you can register an interest with Mr Butterworth and Mrs Robson. Is this something that you think will be for you? I guarantee you won’t regret it!