Autumn is a beautiful time of year to be swinging through trees. The colours of the leaves, the smell of the crisp air... the sound of people screaming as they fly down the zip-wire. It is a beautiful sight to see.... or a funny one if you are watching me doing it.
I'm up for most things. This year I promised to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. So when Go Ape offered to send myself and Kyd off to Bracknell forest to visit one of their sites, I said a slightly hesitant YES, but only because I am not overly a 'strenuous activity' type of girl.
Kyd is a thrill seeker and is always pushing himself to do more and his determination is a real inspiration to me. He is determined to prove that people with Down Syndrome can do ANYTHING, he lets nothing stop him and although things may take him a little longer, he may have to rest in between and he may struggle to understand things straight away, with the right help and a bit of practice, he CAN do anything.
Go Ape was a huge challenge, we laughed, we learned, we worked together and we achieved our mission to finish the course all by ourselves. It has to be the best feeling ever for me, to watch him beam with pride at an achievement that seemed to be a bit of a worry to him at the start. He doesn't like to fail or lose and so this was a big push for him to do it and do it he did, with a huge smile on his face.
Our Tree Top Adventure...
Yeah, that sounds much easier than it was. Like I said, I'm not a strenuous activity type of girl and this definitely was strenuous. It used muscles I'd never used before and called in the help of inner strengths that hadn't been used since the monkey bars as a child, which I could never do properly by the way. For Kyd however, it looked a breeze although I knew he was struggling in parts but he reached for the sky and grabbed those branches with both hands.
At the start I assumed we had a supervisor of some sort following us around... NOPE, you're briefed on the safety ropes and clips, then having done a practice with the staff, off you go. I'm going to be honest, that scared the crap out of me! I was worried about Kyd's ability to follow the safety instructions and remember which wire went where whilst we were on the other end of a rope to each other. We worked it out though, everything was colour coordinated and so we came up with a system before we set off on the first section of adventure. Before we started we'd shout 'RED BLUE GREEN off you go....' then when he got to the other side he'd shout 'GREEN BLUE RED your turn!!' whilst reattaching the clips (I'm pretty sure I have those colours the wrong way round now, but you get the picture hahaha). This really helped, I still had parental worry, of course but I knew that he knew what he was doing and I could watch and shout with him to remind him. It taught me to trust him and realise that now, aged 12, he was able to follow instructions that I never thought he would and this . I had a very proud mummy moment whilst he whizzed round the first part of the course and threw himself down the huge zip-line into the forest.
In between sections there was a little bench and a fresh water fountain before you started the next bit. We sat and rested each time reciting the safety process before we set off again to do more crazy crossings zip-wires and Tarzan ropes... This was an important part of the process as Kyd needed to pace himself.
By section 3 my arms were killing me and I could already feel bruises starting to form, I'm like a peach. Kyd however was still pumped up with adrenalin and ready to go. I pressed on with the smile and enthusiasm of him egging me on.
Well, by the final stretch he'd become very successful and a bit cocky. There were several options to get to the last zip-wire. One easy one, one hard one and one even bloody harder one, which was the same as the hard one just further away. He insisted on doing the hard one and because the rules state I have to follow him as he's under 15, I had to do it toooooooo! *hmmmph* the things we do for our kids ey?! Kyd got across fine, whooping and cheering as he went, I however, got stuck, my arms gave up, I couldn't pull myself up so I used my really tired legs to pull myself onto the tree platform... much to the amusement of Kyd and Hoff who was underneath watching. I had a bruise on my shin for 4 weeks! It went across from front to back, where I'd rolled around trying to get up. What a donut. Despite the bruises, I was so excited that we were at the end, Hoff ran down to meet us at the end of the final zip-wire and film us coming in.... that was an attractive bit of film, I almost went ass over tit.
We did it though, we worked together, we achieved something we honestly thought we could never do few years ago... well I thought we could never do, Kyd never doubts himself, he knows he can defeat the world if he puts his mind to it... I wish I had his confidence in life.
Thank you GoApe, for allowing us to tick off a BIG box on our tick list. I can honestly say we would recommend this to everyone and we'd do it all again... well, Kyd will, with Hoff or someone else, I don't think I'd cope again.
- Group Activity
- Team Building
- Confidence Building
- Zip-Wires & Tarzan swings
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