FHS Independence Workers, Ms. Johnston and Mr. Gannon, give us this report:
Following the success of our four previous ski trips to Glenshee and to Pila in Italy, this year the school organised two separate trips to Glenshee, one for beginners and the other for more advanced skiers.
As part of the school’s Independence Programme, the pupils were closely involved in the preparation and delivery of the trips. This provided them with the opportunity to practice a range of skills that promote independence and resilience. The boys had the task of sourcing, pricing and organising accommodation, transport, appropriate clothing, ski equipment hire, lift passes, evening activities, and meals and the budget for groceries, before calculating the overall cost.
The first group left on Monday 26th February and included Bradley, Hugo, Robbie, Ryan and Lewis. We arrived at the Compass Centre, situated not far from the Spittal of Glenshee in the Cairngorms National Park, where we were warmly greeted by Annie who gave us a tour before the boys got settled into their bedrooms prior to dinner.
Before heading to the slopes on the Tuesday morning, we collected our ski equipment. The pupils were responsible for ensuring they looked after their equipment for the duration of the trip. Mr Graham provided ski lessons and by lunchtime all of the boys had made excellent progress. They continued to practice their skills in the afternoon and by the end of the day were all skiing competently. This created good morale within the group, with the boys feeling a very positive sense of achievement and looking forward to getting further up the mountain and progressing. At the end of the day, we returned to the Compass Centre where we were well fed and went on to have a relaxing evening playing various games, including the infamous ski trip card game “Loot”.
Unfortunately on the Wednesday due to “The Beast from the East”, the ski centre was stormbound. Unable to go skiing. the pupils spent time outside enjoying playing in the snow instead. Later, it was agreed that due to the worsening weather conditions, we would return to the school for the safety of pupils and staff. Although all of the boys were extremely disappointed, they handled the decision maturely and packed up and got ready to leave quickly and without any fuss.
The pupils were commended for their behaviour and maturity throughout. To make up for their disappointment at the trip being cut short, they will be going back to the Compass Centre for a residential experience with some of the other pupils at the end of this month.
The second trip left on Monday 5th March and included Aaron, Ben, Dylan, Hugh, Luca, Lucas, Lewis and Kieran. We returned to the Compass Centre where once again we were well looked after. We had an early start on the Tuesday morning and thanks to the weather the week before, the skiing conditions were absolutely perfect. We skied together as a group with some coaching from Mr Graham before the boys were given the freedom and responsibility to explore more of the resort.
By the end of the week they were able to tackle the entire range of slopes and runs, with three of the more advanced skiers taking on the terrifying “Tiger” run. Unfortunately this didn’t quite go to plan, and the three adrenaline seekers, who wish to remain anonymous (Aaron, Hugh and Kieran) ended up sprawled across the hill with their equipment scattered halfway up the slope. Fortunately, Ben (who was on his very first ski trip with the school) saved the day and majestically slalomed his way down the “Tiger”, collecting the boys’ skis and poles on the way… not all heroes wear capes!
In the evenings we enjoyed making use of the games room and gym hall at the Compass Centre. During one extremely competitive football match, the staff proved to be more competitive than the boys at times! The boys also spent time playing card and board games as well as relaxing within the communal lounge.
In line with ski trip tradition, each evening before dinner nominations took place as to who deserved to wear the infamous Unicorn headband for the remainder of the evening. Funny/ silly stories from the day were shared before a vote took place. It soon became clear that the boys had grown attached to the Unicorn horn, with some choosing to carry their embarrassment onto the slopes!
On our way home after a fantastic week, we stopped off for dinner in Perth and reflected on the trip. We enjoyed an excellent meal, and the boys represented themselves and the school exceptionally well, as they had done during the whole trip.
As well as being a fun and enjoyable holiday, the overall experience provides the pupils with an opportunity to develop their confidence and resilience by being away from their usual surroundings and by trying new experiences. It also brings the boys together to work as a team, and is an excellent context for them to build relationships with their peers and staff.
A very agreeable and memorable time was had by all. We can’t wait for our next adventure!