Young Carer Weekend, 5-7th May 2017

On Friday 5th May, six girls and two boys aged between 9 and 12 years old joined us aboard Close Shave for what we hoped would be a great weekend, and a great weekend it was! After the safety talk and introductions, that evening we took a short trip through a few locks, mooring at Hunton Bridge for the night.
The kids were helping out at the locks and the helm straight away, and that allowed us some time to get to know each other. We had games all prepared for the group to play after dinner, but they all congregated at the one end of the boat, and spent the evening chatting and bonding. Once they were told it was time to wind down and get to bed, they immediately did so, and we didn’t hear another peep out of them until morning!
Woken up by the ducks quacking away, we had a lovely cooked breakfast, and we set off on our way. We headed off to Cassiobury Park, here we went on a train ride, and they had some free time in the park before heading off again to Rickmansworth Aquadrome. Here we took out double canoes on the water for an hour, and then had delicious ice creams. After dinner, we went back to the Aquadrome to play some outdoor games. When back on the boat, the group spent their evening chatting again, and having fun. Sadly we had
to say goodbye to one of the girls on the Saturday evening, but I’m hopeful she enjoyed the time she spent on the boat and the friends she made. On Sunday we had a swimming session booked for the morning at a local leisure centre. After an hour of splashing about, and more fun for the group, we then had to make our way back to the boat base. It was a beautiful sunny day, and perfect for the group to relax and enjoy themselves.
Disaster struck towards the end of the trip, when one of the group dropped their phone in the canal, and by some miracle, we managed to retrieve it from the bottom of the canal, and it still worked! Once back at base, we all said our goodbyes, and some of the group swapped phone numbers.
Over the weekend, some of the kids wanted to help out at all the locks, some wanted to just relax or chat, some played games and did colouring, and they all enjoyed blowing bubbles! But however they sent their time, it was spent with enjoyment. To give these special kids a weekend to remember, a new experience, and a couple of days to relax, away from the difficulties they face in their everyday lives. I hope they will take away
fond memories of their time on the boat, and have made some lasting friendships. I am so proud of them, and to have spent the weekend with such an inspirational group of young people.
Davina Lines, May 2017