A Message From X PLATOON HQ:
The following report was written by a young attendee of our recent WW1 Residential Course. We have not edited her work in any way. We are immensely proud to have had the honour of meeting this exceptional young lady; the quality of her writing and her summary of our content is outstanding. Without doubt, she has a wonderful career ahead of her in whatever she chooses to do. Read on, Dear Reader. Read on...
One word: X Platoon. But that one word has an endless list of meanings: adventure of a lifetime, confidence building, learning to cope on your own… as I have already said the list goes on and on. So let me take you on a journey back in time to my experience at XPlatoon…
Tue 22 May:
Today’s the day - this was D Day. After all the preparation, it was finally the day that we were going to XPlatoon. I woke up half an hour earlier than normal this morning because I was so excited. All of my bags were packed and I was ready to go. As I walked into school, all of my friends were really excited and weighed down with bags. I had to help them carry everything!
We boarded the bus and everyone was really excited, we were all singing and chattering. On arrival, we met Steve Heaney MC, who gave us a safety briefing and sorted us in to our sections. Then, we walked to Camp Poppy, (the campsite) before unpacking our bags in the tents and settling in. My ‘tent mate’ and I were laughing and joking, we even said the tent was like a 5* hotel! Next, we ate our packed lunches and got ready for the afternoon’s activities.
Team challenges first: Move the cannon safely, transport water, carry toxic waste and retrieve supplies. There was a rivalry between the sections, as we knew the section who scored the most points would win a prize, and we (Section 1) wanted that prize! For us, it was really easy to work as a team, but it was the opposite for some of the boys. It felt like we were doing the Bush-tucker trials in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!
After the activities, we had our tea, which was chicken casserole, (but I had a cup of roast potatoes) with a chocolate bar too. We had to wash our own dishes because we were living like WW1 military soldiers. Once we had eaten, we had independent time with our friends. Everyone was running around and chattering until about 9:30pm. To end off the day, we sat around the campfire, listening to Steve’s stories and toasting marshmallows. Finally, our classmate (Harry) played the Last Post. We went to our tents and that’s when the party started!
Although I was upset and homesick at the time, looking back it was quite fun keeping Mrs. Hargreaves up until 1:30 in the morning!
Wed 23 May:
“Get up lazy bones!” was our rude awakening accompanied by the dreaded noise of the bugle this morning. We gave each other the death stare. “What time is it?” asked my friend Jazmin. I looked at the watch and gulped, “It’s 6:46, we’re not even out of bed!” I said in panic. We threw our clothes on and ran out of the tent to the campfire.
It was early PT; I had a blistering headache and hadn’t eaten since last night, never again will I put myself through it! Finally, after the hardest hour of my life, we went back to camp and smelt the delicious smell of bacon. By this point I was so hungry that I thought I was going to faint! But in the end it was worth waiting for, breakfast was incredible!
Afterwards we ventured into the woods to do a fire making activity. The fire was really warm, and we were so cold, it felt so good! The girls’ fire was ‘flaming brilliant’; it was up within minutes, unlike the boys’, so fair play to us! Next, we went back to camp for our lunch.
All afternoon we navigated through the woods. One boy in the class tripped over a nettle bush and stung his knee four times! Anyway, we carried on using our compasses and finding our bearings every now and then. Who needs an inaccurate GPS now?
Dinner was pasta and meatballs with tiger bread, which was delicious. We were so hungry that we ate every last crumb! Then we ran around before toasting marshmallows and having a campfire. Finally, we went to bed and we were all really tired!
Thurs 24 May:
Last day at XPlatoon today! I was just starting to get used to living in the outdoors, but now we were leaving. Jazmin and I woke people up this morning, it was really funny! Breakfast was before anything else, which was great as I was starving this morning. No headache today, as I got to sleep much earlier last night and we had a cheeky lie in ‘til 6:50am. Breakfast was brilliant, a great start to the day.
The first thing on the agenda was water purification. We made water filters and then, well, filtered the dirty water through it. It was actually fun as we got the opportunity once more to work as a team.
The final activity was the obstacle course, the best one outside of the military! Never have I thought that I could complete something so big. It required teamwork, competitiveness, perseverance, and many more values. We were competing in sections, and although we came third, it was still extremely fun. The glory I felt when we rang the bell at the end was incredible! This was my favourite activity.
After that we had our lunch and the awards ceremony. I won a medal for my ‘resilience through tough times’. This made me feel very proud of myself. I was also very proud that the Girls’ section won overall. Finally, we got on the bus and travelled home.
So, to sum things up, would I recommend visiting XPlatoon? Yes, I certainly would! Thanks to XPlatoon, our first residential was a life-changing one.
St. Mary’s RC Primary School