Last Friday, in glorious sun, we ran a City Adventure for staff of the Woodbridge School in Nottingham. Two Friday’s earlier it was a similar deal for staff of St.Albans in Birmingham. These training days, originally commissioned by the visionaries at Creative Partnerships Birmingham in 2002, are always a tantalising mixture of stress and fun.
Like so much of our work, it seems success is won by focusing inordinate amounts of labour and attention on a very simple idea. So for each pair embarking on the adventure 32 envelopes have to be stuffed, labelled and intricately sealed inside one-another like complex Russian Dolls. With 76 adventurers in the last fortnight we have made up over 1200 envelopes.
The orienteering part of the day takes two and a half hours during which a minimum of 15 challenges have to be arranged to be undertaken by a variable number of variously distracted people at indeterminate times with varying degrees of skill and imagination. It is only at lunchtime, when the most complex bit of the day is over, that we meet everyone for the first time.
Both sets of staff were in high spirits, possibly because they were off the leash for a day – possibly because Schools Out fever is brewing. They came back with great tales and discoveries, photographs, drawings and writings. No one got lost, no one got arrested, no one eloped. They all seemed to have fun. We live to fight another day.
Next up: in September the staff of Castle Vale School are let loose in central Birmingham and staff from two schools gang up on Stoke.