By: Blonde One
This trip has been the first time that I flown with youngsters. I have walked with them (obviously), driven with them, sailed with them, but never flown until now and especially when we have flown to a remote area full of cultural differences. It was a whole new experience! When taking students away you are obliged to act in loco parentis, meaning substitute parents. Normally this is quite easy and on Dartmoor usually just means taking the normal amount of care with them, making sure they are safe from traffic, bogs or the effects of cold. When on a trip to a mountain region in Morocco the phrase takes on a whole new meaning. I literally have felt like a mother to most of the group while we were away. I constantly found myself trying to think how I would want my daughter cared for by a member of staff when she was away in Botswana. It is a tricky situation when a young person is desperately homesick and just wants to go home, to cross the normal boundary and give them a hug! As staff, any form of physical contact with a youngster is obviously strongly discouraged in normal situations but in such times of need, it is really all the treatment that is needed. Sometimes only a hug will do. Luckily the 15 youngsters that we took away didn’t need the same level of attention and in fact on more than one occasion I was the one who needed looking after. It seems that when involved in activities abroad or involving some kind of adventure it is much more important to be a caring human being rather than an efficient, distant member of staff. As a mother, it was easy to take on the loco parentis role while we were away but I would definitely not want 15 kids all of the time – it was exhausting!!!