Friday, 18 September 2015

Creating opportunities for kids

 We had a bit of a disappointment this week as a new sports group we signed on with fell over at the last hurdle.  The organizers where struggling for enough people willing to commit to paying £18 up front for six weeks of sessions, so I hit my contacts list and drummed up enough interest for it to go ahead.  Then the morning of the first session we received a message that it was cancelled because the venue had failed to reserve the hall as they had promised to.  It was too much for the organizers, for whom it had all become too complicated and difficult to get off the ground, so they understandably gave up. 

My boys already do gymnastics lessons, plus fairly regular yoga and swimming, but I really wanted them to have the chance to do proper PE type lessons where they could develop hand-eye co-ordination and simple abilities such as kicking and throwing a ball that we just can't do very well in our tiny back yard.  Socially it would also be beneficial to get several of our friends together in one place once a week, rather than trying to squeeze in folk separately in our free afternoons after we finish our sit down 'school' work and projects.  Plus we wanted it to be for littlies - pre-schoolers and younger home educated kids - in an environment where the emphasis was on fun, not working towards matches or badges as they can do that elsewhere.

My lack of sporty photos on this post may be a give away that the next step I took was somewhat unlikely for me (a picture of my joggling shoes, and one of the stadium where I sat my exam for my oceanography module.  In the division of sporty folk and nerds, I am firmly in the nerd camp). 

I said 'hey guys' to a couple of my friends 'how do you feel about splitting the hire of a hall with me?'.  They said, 'sure' in varying degrees of certainty and came on board with a commitment of time and a load of great ideas.  In a previous incarnation I was a multi-activity instructor for an outdoor education company (I was hired as a field studies instructor, but we all got trained and ran all sorts of fun sessions too) and have volunteered for a long time with kids groups, and my friends have a wealth of experience and training in working with kids too, so as far as a skills base for actually delivering the sessions we're in a good position.

I found a venue, booked a reasonably practical time slot which doesn't suit all my friends but is ok for several of them,  worked out a group name (thank you Facebook suggestions) and an idea of running orders and activities (to be planned out properly soon). 

Now I'm having palpitations thinking about paperwork and public liability insurance and whatnot as I'm sure this is all going to be a lot more complicated than I'm hoping, but I've sent some hopefully not too complicated e-mails begging advice from some folk in the know and I have my fingers crossed this will be a suitably low hurdle for us to cross.  The group is likely to only ever consist of close friends, but in these litigious times it's something we need to think about. However, I feel that this momentum to get it up and running is really vital and I don't want it to be just another idea someone had for improving kids and parents access to sports and fitness that fell by the wayside due to bureaucracy.

So all being well we start next week (pretty crazy since it will be just a week from the conception of the idea).  It may all go pear shaped, but it won't be from lack of trying at least.  I think we too often say 'wouldn't it be nice if someone organized ...' while being too timid or busy to have a go at filling the void ourselves.  I guess I'm 'someone' - maybe not the best someone, but someone nonetheless, and I have the support of really great 'someone's who are far more organized and fabulous than me.   As far as setting up a group goes I'm either being too naïve or too worried, I'm not sure which yet.  But I also have a lifetime of cracking on and doing really well with things that I would never have tried if I thought about things too much (whoever heard of a climbing instructor with a fear of heights, or a published writer with visual stress which makes the words dance on the page - well now you have).

So wish us luck and the blowing of fair winds so that my post next week about it isn't 'Well, that didn't work AT all...'.