By: Blonde One

As promised, here’s the story about my first venture into the Jubilee Challenge event that is a very important part of the Ten Tors weekend.

I was very lucky to be able to support a student from Trinity School who stepped well out of his comfort zone to successfully and single-handedly navigate his way around 7.8 miles of Dartmoor. There were many challenges for him but he went from strength to strength throughout the walk and showed true courage and determination. He was assisted by 2 amazing Young Leaders from Trinity who made the experience so much better for us all with their optimistic and enthusiastic approach.

As well as walking with my own student, I also was asked at the last minute to walk with some students from a school in Cornwall that needed a qualified person. Quite rightly, the Ten Tors regulations state that all groups need a qualified member of staff with them and I was happy to help out a fellow #GetOutside Champion and lead students from her school too. We were a group of 5 students and several supporting adults.

Walking through the sea of people cheering on the participants at the start line was incredible. I was glad of the excuse to put on my sunglasses and cover the tears that were streaming down my face! What I witnessed that day was truly inspirational. It would be so easy for staff to decide not to bring students with challenging needs onto the moors and remain in the safety of the classroom walls. But these staff clearly are a dedicated bunch and moved heaven and earth to make sure that the whole team had a chance to succeed and enjoy being outside. Alongside the staff were the ‘Shadows’. These are mostly cadets who offer their time freely to help staff to manage their groups. The Shadows that were with us probably had very sore muscles at the end of the morning as they pushed wheelchairs all morning and responded well to the students’ demands for ‘faster, faster’! It was amazing to learn that some of our shadows were no longer cadets but kept coming back to help out with the Jubilee Challenge as they loved it so much.

Words don’t do justice to how the event made me feel. I felt so privileged to be involved, in complete awe of the participants and totally humbled by the staff who worked so hard making sure their team enjoyed themselves.

If ever you get chance to witness this event, either the start, middle or end, then do it; you will not be disappointed. Be warned though: take some tissues!