On 9th July, 13 Greenfield Community College pupils and Mr Butterworth traveled to Morocco in North Africa as part of a World Challenge expedition (more pictures here). They had previously raised the £1250 for their place during the previous year and a half including sponsored abseils, leg waxes, staff car washes, mufti-days and a quiz 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 playground at a pre-school and also a rest and relaxation period 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. Early starts such as 3am wake up calls and the extreme heat during the day, with a peak of 46 degrees Celsius, proved very energy-sapping for the challengers whilst trekking over 35km during four days. Furthermore, a high proportion of this distance was travelling up steep inclines making it much harder and time consuming. This culminated in staying in the highest village in Morocco, Tacheddirt which is 2300m high and climbing to a peak height of 3300m on the third day.
The first phase of the expedition saw the group facilitate their own individual and team skills to renovate an old playground on the periphery of the High Atlas Mountains. It was a race against the clock to complete before the deadline on the third day. The pupils worked tirelessly to ensure that they didn’t disappoint even though some were combatting a group sickness bug. 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 play environment that will be truly special for the young pupils upon their return to school.
During the ten days all the pupils developed invaluable life skills that will help them develop into mature young adults and this expedition seemed the perfect way for the year 11s to round off their time at Greenfield Community College. Each student was given the freedom and guidance to assume the roles needed on an expedition (leader, budget holder 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 there 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 life and in particular 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 walk up mountains 3300m high, experience 46 degrees Celsius heat, play a big game of football against young Moroccans, paint animals on the classroom walls, sleep on a rooftop under the stars, camp and have a bonfire, spend time at a waterfall, haggle with Marrakech stall owners to get the cheapest price possible, go in the cockpit of a plane, watch the World Cup Final in a Moroccan bar, 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, and of course not forgetting the fantastic treks through the High Atlas Mountains and the feeling obtained knowing that you have played your part in making what was previously an old, run-down playground into a playful 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; Andrew Archer, Max Atterby, Cora Gibson, Harry Heaton, Tino Lewis, Danielle Pepper, Owen Preston, Emily Ramsay, Byron Sowels, James Steel, Ellie Stevens, Fraser Ward and Max Wilson.
The school is planning on running another World Challenge expedition to an unconfirmed destination in the summer of 2016 for the pupils going into year 9 and 10. More details and an assembly will follow during the autumn term where you can register an interest with Mr Butterworth.