Student stories

Carly Lloyd (recreation and health education) leads kids in exploring the outdoors

Carly Lloyd

Atlantic Outdoor Centre (Atlantic College)

By Carly Lloyd

During the summer of 2014 I had the opportunity to live and work at the Atlantic College, which is situated on the Bristol Channel in Wales, UK. Founded in 1962, the Atlantic College was the first member of the United World College movement. During the summer months, the Atlantic Outdoor Centre runs summer camps at the college for school groups from across the UK.

As an ‘Activity Instructor’, I am responsible for leading outdoor activity sessions such as archery, castle adventure, orienteering, kayaking, climbing, high ropes courses, mountain boarding, woodland adventure, and coastal walk, to name a few. I most enjoyed the coastal walk where I could share my knowledge of the sea’s ecosystems with the children and open their eyes to their natural surroundings. It is quite a moving experience to see a child’s face light up as they explore tidal pools and sea caves for their first time and learn that barnacles and limpets are living creatures! I am responsible for planning anywhere from one to three sessions a day, each time working with different instructors and leading different activities. Instructors lead the specified activity but have the liberty to be creative with how they run it, making it easier to cater to a specific group’s needs. 

The AOC summer program gives children the opportunity to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities, allowing them to engage in things they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. I’ve had the chance to work with a variety of children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds, those living with special needs and children from typical schools, so there is never a dull moment as I’m always on the go! Whether it is participating in a session, eating in the dining hall, going to general swim or having fun at the evening disco, each child is given the same opportunity. One of the aims of AOC is to foster a desire to participate in outdoor recreation by encouraging the children to try new things, to overcome their fears and, most importantly, to have fun! The week that children spend at the Atlantic Outdoor Centre is in most cases a transforming experience because they are experiencing new things for the first time, discovering hidden talents and passions, and learning about their natural surroundings. It is a rewarding experience to be part of a memorable experience for so many children and to see them grow and learn during their time at the Atlantic Outdoor Centre.

The knowledge I have gained from the leadership and outdoor recreation courses that I’ve taken at UVic has made me a more informed and knowledgeable instructor and has allowed me to run my sessions smoothly and confidently. I look forward to reflecting upon my experiences at the Atlantic College as I move forward with my degree in Recreation and Health Education.

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