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Harry's Kickstart Story

My First 5 Weeks Working for the Outdoors Project as a Kickstarter!

Name: Harry Neale-Smith
Where From? Croydon (don’t hold it against me I’m a Brighton fan!)
Favourite Cartoon Character: Muttley from Wacky Races
Why I Love Brighton: Three things sum it up; The Sea, The People, The Lifestyle

After spending the winter lockdown in cold, dark Leeds I came back down South to my family home in Croydon and started looking for a job in education, specifically in Brighton so I could get away from home again! Education has always interested me, but I had not had any previous experience with kids before. 

After applying for the Kickstarter role with the Outdoors Project I got some initial training and jumped straight into 3 weeks of Easter Holiday clubs. The training as well as the ongoing support from leaders and other assistants gave me the confidence to fully immerse myself in the role. Working up at the Mac’s Farm and then over at the new Parkwood site for a few days I got to experience the full range of activities from making Snozzcumbers on Roald Dahl day to battling for baby Yoda during a Mandalorian Nerf war. It was great to be introduced to children in this outdoors environment versus straight into a classroom. Outdoors the children are relaxed and it’s easy to interact with them because they are enjoying themselves so much. During the preparation for the clubs each morning, reviews where read out from the night before. There were so many positive 5-star reviews, which I found hugely rewarding and motivating.

Since the Easter Clubs and returning to school term time I have been involved in Saturday clubs, which are similar to holiday clubs as well as Saplings and Afterschool clubs. Saplings is our parent-toddler club which could not be more different from our holiday and afterschool clubs. My personal favourite moment from the last few weeks was when the adorable 2-year-old Zoe came up to me and hugged me during my first Saplings session. She then remembered my name for the following week, and she shouted it while looking for me during a game of hide and seek.

I have learnt a lot about myself during my opening weeks working with the children. Their energy is the stand out thing for me. They have a non-stop appetite for exploring the world combined with lots of running around and making as much noise as possible which is one of life’s joyous things. Looking forward to continuing to update this blog with my experiences with the Outdoors Project.