Written by Year 9 pupils Oscar and Ethan
I really enjoyed Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre (HOAC), despite the rain. First, we did team-building exercises, and then we built a raft and went on a race in the lake beside the grounds.
Our first team-building exercise was doing anagrams, which proved easier for some groups than others. The anagrams, which were scrambled names of animals, progressively got harder. We had to guess as many as we could in five minutes and our team did well. The next activity was a sort of puzzle – we had to try and fill in a square with different sized and shaped pieces. We then had to jump through a tire. This was quite an entertaining activity. Overall, our team did very well. The final and funniest activity was we all stood on two planks with ropes attached to them and had to move in unison forward. This ended up with us falling over - a lot! We did these sorts of activities for a few hours until midday when we had lunch.
After lunch we had to build a raft. Even though the team-building activities were fun, it was nothing compared to raft building and sailing. The raft was made from four barrels to sit on and four logs tied together with rope. We learnt how to use three knots in an interesting challenge to try and create a functioning raft including empty plastic barrels for seats.
Once the teams had finished, they had to race to and from a point in the lake, and then quickly disassemble the raft. When we had finished taking apart the raft, we even got a chance to voluntarily jump in the lake at the end, despite it being freezing.
After changing into dry clothes, we all headed back to school, in time for the 4:15 coaches. What I enjoyed about this trip was that it taught us how to work as a team, and not just a few people doing all the work. We also learnt useful, practical skills like building a raft and tying different knots for different situations and uses.
Overall, I loved this day and highly recommend going. Whilst some people were apprehensive because it was forecasted to be raining this was quickly forgotten about and most people jumped in at the end! This was the only time we got wet. Everyone really enjoyed the day and had a great time.