“When there is team work and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved…”
After speaking to Alex and the team about what they hoped to do with MacTuff, they invited me along to observe and get involved with one of their outreach days.
On Friday 27th January I went back to MacTuff to get active and muddy with a group of teenagers from Kirkcaldy.
Part of the vision for the future at MacTuff is to make a difference to children who have become disengaged along the way somewhere. Whether that be at home, or at school, wherever. An idea is forming to sponsor some of these children with race entries and appropriate OCR gear to try and help steer them back onto a path that may benefit them in the future. The boys who we worked with last Friday are, for whatever reason, no longer in main stream education. They have become disengaged somewhere along the way and life is somewhat tougher for these guys than for you and me.
Not that you’d know right enough. Enthusiastic, polite (as much as 15 year old boys can be polite), and completely unprepared for what was about to hit them they huddled together as Alex and Simon took them for a warm up. I’m pretty sure some, if not most of them thought it was going to be a bit naff and there were a few complaints of “I’m not doing that” and “It’s too cold to lie on the ground”. But after a short brief of “we don’t take any nonsense” (Alex and Simon have 21 years of delivering physical activity within the prison service between them) it was down to business.
We started with a lap of the 3km course just to give everyone an insight into what it was all about, and there were no holds barred when it came to obstacles, straight into the tyre wall, overhang walls, the ‘big wall’ that the children made look like a minor blip on their radar, and the roped wall.
The overhang wall and the tyre climb.
The ‘big wall’ and approaching the rope wall.
Any thoughts that this was going to be easy had completely evaporated by this point and everyone was working hard. And then came the mud…
There was just no way to escape it, no easy way around and everyone was going in. This is where the previous warning of ‘make sure your shoes are tied on tight’ came into fruition and unfortunately for one teacher, hers weren’t. One shoe lost to the mud and sheer hilarity on all the kids faces started to convey that this was an experience that would linger in memories long after the day was done.
And we weren’t finished there. The group made short work of the ice and the cargo net before attempting some of the harder obstacles on the course – Nessie and the Ninja Rings.
After a quick hot chocolate break to try and regain some heat in the fingers and toes it was back out onto the course, this time in teams (adults v children) in a bid to see who would triumph. Each team was given an 8ft long piece of rope and there was only one rule – don’t drop the rope. Any worry that the boys wouldn’t step up to the task were completely unfounded, they thrived on the competition and gave everything 100%. They embraced the cold, and the ice, and the team ethos and flew round leaving the adults wondering what on earth had just happened.
The children triumphed. Annoyingly, but also impressively there were no obstacles that proved too difficult for them. They all excelled and they had a blast, even the one who were pretending they didn’t.
Alex, Marnie and Simon know how to work a crowd, they are amazing at getting people engaged and involved, they are masters at their craft and this shone through on the day.
Everyone left, MacTuff medal in hand, muddy, wet, and completely fulfilled. Teamwork and friendship being the only winners. And with two of the boys showing real promise the team have come through on their idea and sponsored them for four races throughout the 21017 season.
What is happening at MacTuff is exciting…these guys are destined to leave a big big stamp on peoples lives…
The full photo album of the day can be found here.
For anyone interested in getting involved in the outreach programme, either within a school or at Knockhill, or indeed for any queries at all then the team can be reached here:
Facebook (www.facebook.com/mactuffkids) (www.facebook.com/mactuffocr)