Prince’s Trust: Day 13 (Wednesday 12th April 2017); Day 14 (Thursday 13th April 2017) 

Hey everybody! 

Short blog posts concerning Wednesday and Thursday’s events. 

Wednesday 12th April 2017: 

Today we started planning for our pitch on Tuesday after our long Easter weekend. We spoke about the potential hazards of the project, the tasks we’ll need to do and the benefits of doing such a project to the community. I intend to write a future blog post with links to newspaper articles and news items on here where you can find out more about what we did. Out of respect for my Team Leaders and our team, I’ll ask them for their blessing/permission. 

Are we going to complete it? Of course we will. Everyone will have to be 100% committed to it 100% of the time to finish it on schedule. Providing everything goes well with the donations and the progress of the project, I can’t see any reason why we can’t. 

In the afternoon, Rob and Karen came from Counter Terrorism. In light of recent attacks, we discussed the reasons why someone might be drawn into dodgy groups. I voiced my concern about how close I lived in relation to the individual involved. These days, most of us don’t know who lives in our communities either because we’re too busy or for some other reason. We watched a twenty-minute film concerning this topic and dealing with extremists on both sides. I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking at all and neither do those that I know and love. The film was good but the people portrayed (apart from one) really irked me. 

Whilst it’s difficult to determine who looks like a terrorist or who looks like they’re about to cross the line, we have to look at their behaviour and the things that we could overhear. It’s good to be cautious and careful rather than fearful and panicking. Should my family, friends or local community ever be in danger, I would be the first to help. That’s a promise you can hold me to (yes, I am being serious Mum).

Thursday 13th April 2017: 

Today we spent the entire morning learning about First Aid in order to become fully qualified First Aiders.

As First-Aiders, there’s only one thing we are qualified to do and it’s to prevent the airway from getting blocked. We can administer CPR (30 chest compressions with flat palm of hand to centre of the chest, locked elbows and other hand for support – it’s a cardiovascular workout for us – followed by two rescue breaths; repeat until help arrives to takeover). The rescue breaths gives the individual who needs it up to 75% chance of surival. We cannot adminster drugs but we can apply dressings to wounds. If person has broken bones but are unconscious, the main focus is getting them breathing, then deal with the injury afterwards. Pregnant unconscious women must always be laid on their left in the recovery position because there is an artery which if applied pressure kills both mother and unborn child. We can prevent serious injury due to choking by administering back blows (not punches) and abdominal thrusts (flat part of a clenched fist placed just above belly button, other hand flat on clenched fist, get subject to bend over and then with hands around abdominals push hands into stomach and upwards) up to five times. As precaution with abdominal thrusts get them to hospital immediately afterwards to prevent infection or further internal damage. To give any injured party the best chance of survival, a First Aider’s main priority is to keep the airway clear. 

Now you know who to ask for help, if you see anybody in danger. 

I do hope I never have to administer First Aid, but in this day and age, you never know when you might need it. 

Right now, my priority is to see how far we can get with donations from companies to help with our Community Project. I’m not entirely sure how much I can tell you about the project for obvious reasons, but I’ve done my research and now I’m in for a hectic weekend. 

No chocolate overdoses for me then. 

Happy Easter everybody (to those of you who celebrate it)! Happy long weekend to everybody else and whatever it is you might be celebrating.

Speak to you on Tuesday after a long weekend of frying my own brain (hard work, in other words), 
LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 12 (Tuesday 11th April 2017) 

Hey everybody,

Today we were working on our CVs either creating them from scratch or updating them. It’s been a month since I last did work on mine and it usually changes whenever I do any work experience. 

We were also updating our folders on ‘Teamwork’, ‘Community Projects’ and researching ‘Work Placements’ for the two weeks after we complete our Community Project. No rest for the wicked, eh? I prefer it like this at least there’s a really slim chance of getting bored or any type of thumb-twiddling activity going on. 

Tomorrow, as the team’s Accountant for the Community Project I’ll get my hands on the prices and start putting together a realistic budget. I’ve never felt this excited about crunching numbers since my IGCSE ‘B’ in Maths. No, it doesn’t bother me if it sounds geeky, but my amazing grandmother can solve mental arithmetic questions in her head before anyone can reach out for the nearest calculator or smartphone. Not so geeky now, is it? 

Speak soon,
LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 11 (Monday 10th April 2017) 

Hey everybody! 

This morning a guy called Dan from Bristol came in to talk to us about drugs. 

You may or may not be surprised to find out that we’re all drug takers for one reason or another. Why?

Sugar is everywhere and is in everything. The cause of the rise in obesity and diabetes. Amongst health professionals it is considered far more dangerous than cocaine. Young people are far more likely to be addicted to sugar and it doesn’t help that it is so widely available. The trouble is we all have sugar in our diets and the problem is getting worse. 

Or what about caffeine, another stimulant which suppresses hunger and found in lethal doses in those energy drinks also popular with young people. 

I try to minimise interaction with sugar because of the crash I get from it. You don’t need to be a genius to work out what happens when I have a sugar crash. 

There are three groups of drugs: depressants (painkillers etc.), stimulants (caffeine etc.), and hallucinogenics (magic mushrooms etc.) Lots of these drugs have the same symptoms and side effects which in large quantities are lethal. 

The talk was instructive and informative.

This afternoon, we went to go and see where our project would be taking place, took messurements and wrote down a shopping list and I found out on social media that our fundraising event would be a cake sale. 

The team have also been lucky enough to have been granted a ‘Dragon’s Den’ day where we’ll be presenting our project to two potential sponsors. They have offered to step in and help out but like most things on this course I’m not at liberty to disclose that information. If we master the pitch we’ll have them sold. 

Speak soon, 
LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 9 (Thursday 6th April 2017); Day 10 (Friday 7th April 2017)

Hey everybody,

Another short blog from me today.

If I had to sum up the day, I’d call it a learning experience. We went wrong so many times but in those moments we pulled together as a team and managed to make our way around the course. We finished close behind the team who had completed the course in just over three hours.

Below are some of the activities we did during ‘The Great Escape’:

  • crossing the river by plank bridge
  • climbing hills
  • climbing walls
  • Floating downstream by canoe – quite a few fell in. The rest of us faced the consequences – a wet muddy bum.
  • Rafting
  • Finding blue gems

The views from the top of the hills were breathtaking. If you’ve never been to Shropshire I highly recommend it. We stayed in Walcott Hall.

Afterwards we did ‘The Spider’s Web’ where the smallest of us went through the biggest holes at the top and the largest went through the holes at the bottom. It took us a while to finally work it out. We were only allowed 5 lives – we used up 3 in our final go.

Thursday night was focused on packing up our things and cleaning. We were to leave the place in similar condition to the way we found it or better. I mopped the floors.

By 1o:30am we had to have left the following morning. We arrived at our base at around 12:30 – 1pm, carried in the left over shopping and went to get our bus passes and go home. I was so happy to be home. The sun was shining and warm. Life was great but I spent that weekend trying to recover from the 13 hour days.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 8 (Wednesday 5th April 2017)

Hey everybody!

Just a short blog post about Wednesday from me. As Wednesdays go, it was relatively calm and the main focus was on each of us getting to know each other whilst on a walk.

It wasn’t just any old walk. It was a map reading walk involving solving riddles. I genuinely thought I would be rubbish at solving riddles. Turns out, that fact is completely untrue as demonstrated by me being the first to solve the first riddle: “What is brown, has a head, and a tail but has no legs” (grammar gurus bare with, I don’t like how it’s set out).

At first I threw out several potential answers including the most obvious: snake. The answer was a penny (GBP).

We ended up walking about 15km (around 10 miles for those of you who don’t understand kilometres) and a few of us needed a nanna-nap afterwards.

Pub quiz was the main activity for that evening to chill us out before thursday. I didn’t quite realise the extent to which I’d be so competitive. I almost lost grip of my manners (sorry Mum). We beat the other team at the quiz by 17 points.

It was Shaq’s 17th birthday and I sang “Happy Birthday” to him in English and then in French. We had a chocolate swiss roll to celebrate. If I met him on the street, I’m not sure I would have the guts to talk to him, but in this environment I realise that I was wrong to think that because he is a gentleman.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 7 (Tuesday 4th April 2017)

Hey everybody!

As I recall, the weather was freezing cold we had no choice but to hunt for firewood to warm ourselves up with. With the help of the brief gusts of wind, (stop it) the fire took hold whilst we were all playing a game of Crocker. Crocker is an African version of cricket, so I’ve been told. For all of you reading this saying “Oh cricket’s boring”, you’ve obviously never seen a T20 match. Having not played cricket since I was about 14 years old, it’s safe to say I was more than a tad rusty. In fact, that’s just me being nice – I was awful.

Gutterball involved guttering pipes and a tennis ball from A to B in less than 7 seconds. We failed so many times before we even got close to 7 seconds. Each failure made us more determined to get it right the next time around. We didn’t stop. Those who are determined and competitive made sure that nobody stopped until we beat the 7 second target.

5 by 5 involved moving 5 tyres onto another post without putting big numbers on top of small numbers. There were three posts in all. I forget just how quick the time was but it was less than 5 minutes.

Triple Barrel involved three barrels and two planks of wood and we had to get the entire team from one point to another in less than 12 moves. I think we managed it in about 10 moves.

In the muddy sludge, Tyre Gap was horrible in terms of trying to deal with the mud and close for comfort at times. On the plus side, the body heat made the cold more bearable. The awkward laughter allowed the entire group to bond. There was an awful lot of awkward laughter and people holding onto heads and shoulders. For those who aren’t so touchy-feely (there are a number of us in the group), we had to let go of our insecurities somewhat.

After lunch there was the crate stacking, I lost count how many times I hid behind the trees to avoid climbing those crates.

Why? I’m terrified of heights. Some of the other members of the team were the same but they still did it. “It’s the adrenaline fix I want” one of them told me. I don’t mind adrenaline but I still felt peculiar after that morning.

But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t help others who attempted to try and beat each other in how high they could get. In the end the highest anyone got was two columns of 17 crates. Besides which I had already passed out earlier that morning from cutting my finger whilst looking for my deodorant. If it had happened again that afternoon, I dread to think what sort of state I’d be in. In fact, the people who know me could very well imagine just what sort of ungainly picture I’d have looked like. What can I say? I’m the biggest klutz going. For the rest of you, you really don’t need to know.

Just before dinner we did ‘desert island’ where Martin and Rich got us to list 20 items that we could have on a desert island. The instruction was to create a list of the most important items and get rid of the five least important. The aim was to see whether we would pick items that would aid survival or items that would help us get noticed and rescued.

Dinner was spag bol, although most didn’t realise that we were actually eating lamb mince rather than beef. Whoopsie. It had been a long day for all of us and the amount of us suffering from fatigue made us drop the clanger. No-one objected.

‘Observation lane’ involved us observing the items in the corridor of the place we were staying in.Then a five minute break and then another observation of the corridor and we had to record which items had been put there. Being as tired as I was, I felt like I let the team down.

That evening was a struggle to stay awake. Old age must have finally come knocking,  or all the sleep I lost during those all-nighters I pulled whilst at university finally caught up with me. We had to make shapes out of the ropes with half of us blindfolded and the other half had to give us the specific instructions. Irrespective of whether I had the blindfold on or not I really struggled to stay awake.  I think we all did.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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Prince’s Trust: Day 6 (Monday 3rd April 2017) 

Hey everybody!

What a week that was!

It’s always great to get away from the city every once in a while. Whilst I can’t speak for the rest of the team, for me, being in sunny Shropshire in the middle of nowhere was a faint reminder of my adolescence. For those of you who know me, you’ll understand why. For those of you who don’t; I’m a countryside girl. I loved being in Shropshire – I even got a tan (more lobster tan than anything else!)

Not sure I could say the same for the thirteen hour days we had, it’s something I’m still recovering from. Yes, nanna naps are helping.

Proof, you say?

These are going to be some blog posts if proof is what you’re after, ladies and gents. You’ll have to bear with me on this one.

Before I begin properly, here’s a disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that this is going to be funny because this what I’ve been duly informed. As you read through these blogs, you’ll realise I’ve been told I’m a lot of things in recent weeks, being funny is one I’m not used to. You’ll see what I mean. Honestly, if it’s funny it’s not on purpose. So if it’s not funny enough, I can only apologise in advance.

I fought with my suitcase before turning up at our team’s base later than planned. Don’t look at me like that, I was hardly going to turn up looking like I was off on holiday for a fortnight, was I? Even if I did return with the lobster tan to prove it!

Between 10am and half-past the minibus arrived. It took about 1h 30 to get to the place we were staying in. We stayed in a manor house with views of the British countryside (for those unfamiliar with Shropshire, it’s on the way to Wales).

When we got to the manor house, we chose the rooms we would be sleeping in and dropped our bags off, carried the shopping up the Hogwarts-like stairs, helped put the shopping away and made our beds. I’m just glad my Mum wasn’t there to see the bed linen (sorry not sorry Mum – in fact don’t even ask).

After meeting our instructors Martin and Rich, we were allowed half an hour for lunch but some of us missed it entirely. At 1pm, we started with building stretchers to carry an individual with a back injury around a 100 yard perimeter. We could use anything to hand, inclduing rope and special stretcher bags. We were split into two groups. One group finished in 6 minutes, the other took five times as long. The group who built the stretcher in 6 minutes beat the other team even though we got stuck at the half-way point.

Then there was the human crane which we all participated in. We all had to hold a piece of the rope and then use the contraption which can only be described in layman’s terms as a metal picky-uppy-doofery-thing. You get what I mean?

We managed to get all the wooden blocks stacked on top of each other, although, by the end it started to resemble a game of Jenga.

Carpet Island came next – don’t even get me started. The whole concept of the game was to get from A to B but it was to test stress levels under pressure and frustration. At first, they rose but once we got into a repetitive pattern of getting it wrong and then working out how to put it right, they started to go down. By which point the other team who had lost the stretcher race beat us to the finish line.

Yeah, it was Karma.

Earlier that morning, everyone had silently mutually agreed that the group I was leading would be cooking that night. Although I enjoy cooking anyone who knows me, knows I’m rubbish under pressure in those sorts of situations. Of course, it all went wrong from the very beginning. I was still hungry from lunchtime and I forgot to sort out the stuffing first thing. Yes, I am a nincompoop.

We managed to make food just before the Night Walk, strangely I was rather calm about it all. I genuinely thought that I was one of those terrified of the dark, ashamed to realise that I’ve been fobbing myself off for this long. There were a couple who were scared of the dark and one (Hannah) clung onto two of us for dear life. We tried to keep her calm, poor chick. She’s alright now.

When we got back to Walcott Hall, I made my lunch using some of the leftover veggie burgers (why not, leftovers has become my nickname/jokey middle name – it’s just the kind of thing my family do) for the next day and I went to bed. By 10pm I was ready for sleeping.

Speak soon,

 

LexC

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