Year 7 to 9 Ecoventure – November 2023 by Mr Matt
21 students from our Secondary School have just returned from a challenging but enjoyable week at Ecoventure in the United Arab Emirates. From meeting in Bahrain International Airport at 6.45am on Sunday morning, to being collected just after 2pm on Thursday afternoon, the students have excelled in everything that they faced over the week.
“Time is critical, not flexible .“
– Lola, Year 8
Arriving at Umm Al Quwain Marine Club full of enthusiasm and excitement, our students were thrown straight into team building games and activities that enabled them to get settled into their new surroundings. A hearty dinner and an early night gave the students the best possible preparation for what lay ahead on day 2.
Split into 2 different groups, the students got stuck into their activities. Group 1 dove straight into some water sports. The students learnt about the importance of balance when kayaking, explored different knots to use during raft building and refined their teamwork and collaboration skills as they participated in canoe races. Meanwhile, Group 2 threw themselves into, and off, high rope activities. The daunting task of the ‘leap of faith’ and the intimidating ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ awaited them. Never to be overawed by such tasks, our students excelled! Again, displaying high levels of teamwork as they worked their way up Jacob’s Ladder, and the courage and resilience to overcome some fears in the Leap of Faith, all the while providing huge amounts of support and encouragement to one another as they overcame fears and smashed through physical limits. The students had an intriguing session in Water Sustainability and the effects pollution & developments can have on our world and the oceans.
“Don’t say you’re scared, until you’ve tried it .“
– Hussein , Year 7
The groups then switched activities on Day 3. With wind conditions calmer, Group 2 embarked on the water activities. After learning to balance on kayaks & building buoyant rafts they played Canoe Polo which saw the competitive sides of Mr Matt & Ms Stephanie explode onto the scene. Group 1 were land based and tried their hand at the high ropes. Once again, it was fantastic to see a number of our students confronting vertigo and taking part in activities that took them out of their comfort zone. After dinner, the students had to work together in the ‘egg drop activity’. The students were asked to make a device that would save the egg if dropped from a great height. There were certainly some interesting designs and one of our teams was only the 2nd team all season to save their egg! Well done Team Eat Your Eggs!
After another great night’s sleep, the students were excited and eager to board the Houseboat. After a 30 minute boat ride out towards the mangroves, the boat anchored and the slide was open! Made extra slippy by some additional water, the students took turns sliding down into the water. There were certainly some interesting shapes and movements as people entered the water. A highly competitive front flip challenge followed, Alessandra ‘Torpedo’ Cafiero (7.1) implemented her gymnastics skills and took home the gold medal. Following his silver medal in the ‘Flip Challenge’ Mr Phil introduced the corkscrew dive – a move that looked more painful than graceful! After refuelling at lunch, our students took part in their last 2 activities of the week – Survival & Catapult. Both required teamwork & collaboration and again the students’ creativity shone through in their intricate designs and learned the value of “plan, do, review” by adjusting their original plans, testing and refining to build simple (yet robust) and formidable catapults before laying siege to the volleyball court. Instructor Chirag, from experience, taught students important survival skills and how to prioritise different essentials based on the situation. Students learned to build a fire, construct a shelter, filter water, signal for help and care for injured in the scenario that had been built for them.
“My favourite part of the week was the houseboat where I got the nickname Torpedo because I went really fast down the slides and did some flips! “
– Alessandra, Year 7
To end what has been a fantastic week, everyone attended the traditional final night campfire. Roasted marshmallows, chocolate cookies & a good old sing song kept the spirits high and the students went to bed with a huge smile on their face!
Thank you to all of the parents who sent the students on this trip. The Ecoventure staff were fantastic! Full of energy, and enthusiasm whilst maintaining the safety of our students. This was a trip to remember and we want to congratulate & thank all of the students for their resilience, grit & perseverance throughout the week.
“What an amazing opportunity to see the students in such a different light, overcoming fears, pushing themselves to achieve and being incredibly supportive of one another. I feel very privileged to have attended Ecoventure with them.“
– Mr Phil
“It is really special to see students in this setting. It tests their patience, resilience, grit & determination when faced with such varied experiences. To support students through this and see them actively make the choice to persevere is truly special. Well done to the first Secondary only Ecoventure team from Nadeen School!“
– Ms Stephanie