Experiencing the magic of ‘Over The Wall’

I completed my LiA with a UK charity ‘Over The Wall’ (OTW). They provide free life-chancing residential camps to children with serious long-term illnesses. The objective of my LiA was to enhance the camp programme through planning new activities, leading activities at camp and gathering feedback.
Experiencing the magic of ‘Over The Wall’

For the first part of my LiA, I worked in the OTW headquarters in Havant. I was proud of travelling there on my own and developed excellent communication skills through meeting the CEO and all the other staff in the office. While in the office, I was responsible for analysing the current activities that are offered and developing my own original activity. I used my musical skills to develop an activity where the campers could create their own music videos which I called ‘Top of the Pops’. I had the wonderful opportunity to write a detailed activity plan and risk assessment and present it to the camp director and other staff members. I also developed my communication and collaboration skills as the aim of OTW is to ensure that campers with a wide range of medical needs can come and actively participate in everything. This involves having a series of adaptations to ensure children in wheelchairs or with visual impairments for example can participate. Therefore, I liaised with the nursing coordinator to develop a number of adaptations.

I was very excited to lead activities at Whitemoor Lakes in Lichfield. I truly learned that no challenge is too big. As I watched campers in wheelchairs complete high ropes obstacle courses for example it gave me a new appreciation for living life to the full and knowing that once you set your mind to something you can always achieve it. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone leading my activity “Top of the Pops” and other activities such as “The Chase” and “Lego Characters”. I really improved my public speaking and communication skills as I presented these activities to groups of about 40 people at a time. In the evening I led reflective camp fires and festivals for the campers to take time to reflect on their day and all they achieved.

Throughout my time at OTW, I gathered feedback from campers about current activities and I reflected on this feedback at daily staff meetings. I proposed a number of suggestions for improvements that could be made to current offerings which will improve the activities offered next year and for future camps.

I truly enjoyed developing my leadership skills at OTW. I developed my confidence and presentation skills leading activities. I also understand the importance of listening to the feedback of others and being able to adapt. I hope to have had a meaningful long-term impact on the lives of the children who attended the camps. I also hope to have improved the camps for future campers  and to continue to help OTW grow from strength to strength in providing therapeutic recreation to children with serious long-term illnesses.  

Overall I hope to have made a meaningful impact on the lives of the campers that will have long lasting results they can carry forward into the future. I hope that they have gained confidence and are inspired that despite having a serious illness they can live their life to the full and never let their illness stop them from achieving their goals. The children who attend these camps have experienced challenges that no child should ever have to go through and I am so inspired by their unwavering perseverance and resilience. A number of children said that camp was the first place they spoke in a group or could be themselves. The transformation, growth and reflection in the children from the beginning to the end of the camps was truly magical.

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