Our Stars of 2016 returned home last Thursday, (possibly wet, but almost certainly weary) after a 2 Day team building exercise in the Pennine foothills.
In the first Star â€˜Away Dayâ€™ of itâ€™s kind, the pupils were whisked away to the Anderton Centre in Rivington, where their resilience and team spirit was put to the ultimate test in a series of mental and physical challenges. Temporarily split into two, It was Team Taurus Vs. Team Scorpio – but who came out on top? Well, it was almost too close to callâ€¦..almost.
Why the country break?
We spoke to Star Programmeâ€™s course leaderÂ Carley LeeseÂ to find out:
“The Star Programme is about pushing people to their limit and way beyond their comfort zones, and is more about proving it to themselves than it was to us. So to keep our Stars on their toes we wanted to try something different, and an intense team building course out in the elements seemed like just the way to do it.
Throughout the two days I wanted the team to demonstrate everything that they had learned in their first module, Developing You, so they would expect to demonstrate communication, their personal effectiveness, motivation, confidence and presentation skills, during the tasks they were set.Â Much more than that though we wanted them to gel as a team, building long lasting relationships that would transfer back into the workplace and last a lifetime.”
After arriving bright and early for a warm breakfast, our pupils were quickly put to the test in a series of challenges: one of themÂ involved manoeuvring a golf ball around an obstacle course using only string, whilstÂ another required them to build a bridge using a ladder, a barrel, and their bare hands.
It was Cold. It was Wet. It was Brutal. But it was only the beginningâ€¦
After a spot of lunch our Stars were back at it, but this time points were being recorded – and so competition was fierce!
First up for team Scorpio was the Crate Stack, where 2 members of the team stoodÂ on top of stacked crates, whilstÂ other team members added more crates below. The team with the highest stacks wins!
Whilst over on Team Taurus it was the low wire obstacle course. But as if that wasnâ€™t hard enough, each had to carry a cup of water across the course and empty it into a measuring jug. The team with the most amount of water wins!
The final challenge of the day was a quick Archery contest, with all points being recorded and added to the final tally.
Whilst the overall scores were being kept secret, a special mention must go to Ionut Sandu for hitting the bullseye with his last arrow of the day for team Taurus. A fantastic example of someone being able to deliver the goods under pressure. Great work Ionut.
In the evening the team were treated to a pub quiz and a chance to lay a few bets on our Virtual Horse racing in the hostel common room, before getting an early night* and getting straight back into the competition tomorrow morning.
After a Bacon Sandwich the teams headed up to the onsite meeting room for a quick chat with surprise guest, John Roberts (you can read Johns BlogÂ here). But after a few introductions and inspiring pep talks it was back to the tournament for the final showdown. The task? Â A gruelling boat race the length ofÂ Rivington Reservoir, followed by 45 minutes of orienteering up Rivington Pike, before ending in a mad dash back across the reservoir and back to shore.
With both teams neck and neck in the final 50 meters it was anybodyâ€™s race. So close in fact, that in the flurry of white water and abandoned ships it was almost impossible to call. The winners would be kept secret, and would be announced after the teamâ€™s final challenge â€“ a presentation in front of the senior management and, of course, their fellow pupils.
It’s fair to say that each and every pupil delivered a heartfeltÂ presentation, with perhaps the biggest compliment coming from Group Logistics Director Dave Ashwell when he said “I believed each and every one of you”
Tired, rung out from the nerves of a presentation, and the warm comfort of knowing that they all made it through, it was time to reveal the winners.SoÂ without further ado, congratulations toâ€¦â€¦â€¦..TEAM SCORPIO â€“ who won by a deceptively close 117 points .
Well done team Scorpio, and to all of our STARS who made it through. But most of all congratulations to all of theÂ Programme co-ordinators. It was the first event of it’s kind, and it felt like we’d been doing it for years