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Anne Keen - Aberdovey, Wales, 2016
Six years ago I was lucky enough to be a teacher attending an Outward Bound Course in Aberdovey. With some trepidation I an two colleagues attended with about 30 students. Not too certain what we would be doing we batted away questions from the students on the journey down to the centre. Little did I know that this was to be my first of many courses in Aberdovey. Walks up the side of Dolgoch Falls, eating wild garlic on the way followed by camp fires - this was to me the stuff of dreams. Canoeing up the Estuary in the snow, willing the students to put a bit of effort in so that my very aching, numb and freezing cold hands could just take a ten second break. Losing my voice from screeching at an instructor in the mines near Dolgoch - apparently scaring my little charges by pretending to be ghost, and then giggling when I emerged with children clinging to every limb I have, was his way of 'breaking the ice' Thank you Zion! But truly thank you, they learnt on that day that Miss Keen was not a scary teacher, and that she would protect and look after them, years later they still remembered emerging into the sunshine and forgetting how scared they were. Six years later and having just finished my 15th residential and I still find it difficult to express why I spontaneously burst into tears when a student overcomes all those fears and does get over the challenge wall, or climbs seven feet off the ground on the climbing wall, or that exhilaration of jetty jumping and watching the students marvel at just how much they can achieve if they believe. Residentials 16 and 17 are all booked and I cannot wait to be amazed again by the achievements that the instructors carefully coax out of our little darlings. I am still the luckiest teacher as I share some very magical moments with the students and believe me they do remember, even when my memory fails, they still remember and are still awestruck by what they actually did. So leaving you with the words of Kurt Hahn, and they really really are true " There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less"