This weekend, Lauren, Jill and some of our lovely ZAP families attended The JD Foundation outdoor adventure charities event organised by Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
We were welcomed by a blizzard when we arrived on Saturday evening - and the snow kept falling and falling and falling! By Sunday morning we were ankle deep in the stuff... but this did not 'dampen' the spirits - our fabulous hosts just made a few alterations to the events and the day began.
We started off zooming around the camp roads in the 4x4 Mountain Rescue vehicles. With full lights and sirens blazing we felt like we were on a real life rescue mission. We then learned some essential skills - CPR and how to immobilise an injured person with a vacuum stretcher. We moved on to trekking a 'missing person' with Sky - one of the SAR (Search and Rescue) Dogs. Sky was amazing - she was given an item of clothing belonging to the missing person - she had a good sniff and then followed the scent through pathways, fields, forests and mud laden tracks for miles before finding her man (luckily for us the person was found in a building where there was hot coffee and sweets).
Throwing ourselves off a hill attached to a zip wire came next, and whilst we waited for our turn, we got to hide in a snowy field and be rescued by Jack - another wonderful SAR dog.
After lunch we zipped around off road in a four-wheel drive buggy, before a demonstration by Orion - a SAR dog who is just one year into his three year training. Orion's handler (and 'dad'!) showed us how they train the dogs to follow the scent of humans. Orion was then sent out to find a missing person - and (after giving us all a fright by jumping off a six foot tall obstacle and flying through the air) she found him. Orion's reward? Her favourite tennis ball!
At the end of the day we left feeling absolutely shattered but proud of what we had done together. Weirdly - we were all thankful for the snow and agreed that it made the event more special - and one that we would never forget.
A huge THANK YOU to everyone for looking after us so well - and for making it such a fabulous day, All the Mountain Rescue staff and dogs, The JD Foundation, The JD Sports staff who volunteered, Holcombe Moor Training Centre and of course all of our Kidscape families and the families, children and young people from all of the other charities who together made the weekend so much fun.
Here's to the next adventure with the wonderful The JD Foundation!