PKAVS Young Carers Team have been busy-bees over the Spring and Summer months organising loads of brilliant day trips for the Young Carers we support. Below is a round up of all the events.
The staff at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park kindly set time aside for the Young Carers in the hatchery, where they were given the chance to handle chicks, rabbits and guinea pigs. Many of the children had not had this experience before and really enjoyed themselves, telling the YC Support Workers "I want one of these" - one boy referring to the giant rabbit he was trying to make friends with.
The staff provided the kids with a quiz, the answers for which were dotted around the park. They had a great time running around trying to complete their quiz sheets and learning new things in the process. The play park was a big hit, and gave the YCs a chance to spend some time having fun and making new friends.
The trip was not only fun but educational, with many of our YC's spouting animal facts on the way home. This was an excellent opportunity for our YC's to have a break and a lot of fun while learning.
The kids really let their hair down with Woodland Combat, tearing through the woods in army gear pretending they were in a real battle! Bonds were formed that previously weren't there, as they were split into teams and made to work together.
Following lunch we went on the high wires and zip lines. We had several kids who were apprehensive about this, but the staff were very reassuring. We had one girl in particular who initially refused to go up onto the high wire, but after lots of encouragement from our staff, and the staff from Crieff Hydro she faced her fear. After she finished the high wire course she told me she was "buzzing" and "so proud" of herself. She really overcame her fear. This also encouraged our YC's to support each other through the experience, and build some new friendships.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day out, and went home with big smiles on their faces. Another invaluable respite opportunity, allowing our YC's to be kids and have fun.
It was a hot and sunny day - perfect weather for a day spent exploring the Deer Centre. The first hour was spent with Enable assisting them with Emergency Planning ideas. All the Young Carers enjoyed handling different antlers to see what they felt like and how heavy they were, everyone enjoyed trying to feed grass to the deer and them all coming to the fence to investigate. All the Young Carers enjoyed playing in the indoor play area and also the outside play area.
They had a great day in the sunshine with an icecream to finish off the day.
We visited Butterfly world, where a very helpful member of staff took us on a tour of the premises. He gave the children information about some of the animals they were seeing, including snakes, gecko's and spiders. The children were then given the opportunity to handle some creepy crawlies, many of whom had never done anything like that before.
We had several kids who were scared to hold the millipede, tarantula and snake, but decided they were feeling brave so gave it a go. Our kids were fascinated in the butterfly garden, watching big and beautiful butterflies and moths fly over their heads with a look of awe on their faces.
We then visited Edinburgh Dungeons after lunch where everyone very much enjoyed the theatrical performance put on by the actors. The afternoon was full of screams and laughter as we worked our way through the dungeons, with lots of smiley faces to be seen at the end. I asked some of the young carers in the car on the way home if they had enjoyed their day and they told me that they had a "brilliant" time", and that we should "do it every week!". This trip gave 17 YC's the opportunity to try new things, let their hair down and have a lot of fun - invaluable respite which everyone appreciated the opportunity to participate in.
We started off on the first floor where the YCs were testing their reactions and discovering how motion and magnetism works. In the 'Question of Perception' zone, where nothing was as it seems the YCs got to experience all types of optical illusions and mind-bending puzzles.
One of the favourites of all the YCs was the wonky room which everything felt squint and made you really dizzy, but they couldn't seem to get enough. There was also a room where even the smallest YCs could tower over the workers and make them look puny. After this we went into the Planetarium and got to see a show which made you feel like you were up in the stars and floating through the galaxy. We learned a lot about the constellations and how to spot them ourselves.
We had lunch after the Planetarium, and once finished this made our way up to the 2nd floor. Here we got to explore how we will power our future, and how we produce our electricty and fuel, and also got an insight into physics, engineering and technology in a fun and interactive way. Then we made our way up to the 3rd Floor where it was all about how our bodies work. There were physical challenges you could put your body through like testing your balance, doing a short run and holding your weight for as long as possible.
All the YCs had a brilliant time at GSC and potentially learned something new and interesting which they can share with others.
On the way home we stopped for ice creams which was the icing on the cake (pardon the pun)
We all enjoyed a long drive out to Go Country at Kinlochard. The water was freezing but everyone braved the course and really enjoyed trying to get themselves onto the slides. There were obstacles that you could climb up the side of and several young carers enjoyed jumping and sommersaulting from the top into the freezing Loch water! The group were quite varied in secondary age and also came from different areas around Perth, however all YC's worked together to help each other onto equipment and got to know one another.
After everyone had enjoyed the water course the YC's all got to go in the hamster balls - everyone enjoyed laughing at attempts made to stand and run in the pool - a task that was very challenging!!
The YC's all worked really well together throughout the day, all helping one another to achieve! After this we went to Aberfoyle where everyone enjoyed a hot chocolate to warm up! The YC's particularly enjoyed trying to get volunteer Stuart onto one of the inflatables with several YC's pulling his arms and several trying to push him up from the water!
We started the day with lots of singing on Stewarts party bus! Once we had arrived we found the toilets and put our bags in the log cabin. Everyone was keen to go on the boats.
After our boat ride we went to the park area and had lots of fun climbing and chasing everyone around the bush maize
Then we all had lunch and played a game of tig. Chris had oraginised a hunt around the park. The rythm was YOUNG CARERS.
On the hunt we found the trampoline and bouncy castle and few of the children went on this. Then we found the amazing fairy area in the woods, where we climbed trees and spoke about fairies, then played the floor is lava. Then we all went on the train ride and a stop of at the flying fox. We ended the day with an ice cream!
All children were singing and relaxing on the way through on the bus, discussing tactics for laser tag - Struan was "going to lie down and be a snipper, the trick is to get high and get everyone". We had lunch when arrived. 16 of the YC's had a go at the climbing. Some were a bit apprehensive but Chris and Gail's clever tactics of persuasion meant everyone joined in on the climbing wall. Everyone was very proud of what they achieved and it was high fives all round.
After that we did the dodgems, everyone fair enjoyed crashing into Chris and Stewart. After that it was laser tag which was great fun. Once it was over we all enjoyed an ice cream at McDonald's to cool ourselves down.
Everyone was tired and sweaty on the way home, a successful trip!
The Carers Trust representative for the Scottish Youth Parliament Lauren Baigrie, is currently consulting with young carers all over Scotland.
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International Guide to support families of children with complex needs and the professionals who care for them.