Tuesday, 29 July 2014

My First Flight

Thanks to Julie Bolitho-Lee, I flew this week. Okay, so it might have been a supposedly simple yoga move (I say supposedly because I struggled somewhat), but technically my feet left the ground and I was not in an aeroplane.

The First Story Residential is one of the highlights of my year. Nestled in the wilds of Somerset is the Nettlecombe Field Studies Centre, where, once a year, seventy budding young writers descend for five days of workshops, exploring and making friends.

Picture credit: http://www.field-studies-council.org/centres/nettlecombecourt.aspx
This year, two students from each First Story school in Oxford, London, Nottingham, Leicester and Bradford were honoured to be taught by some of the best First Story has to offer: Caroline Bird, Matt Black, Julie Bolitho-Lee, James Dawson, Kate Fox and Andrew McMillan. These talented individuals are an invaluable inspiration to the students, both in their own writing and in the time they share with the future writers, offering starting points, feedback and conversation.

Nettlecombe Court is the perfect location for this residential. With rolling hills and quiet spaces, you can read a book or even write one, in the case of many of the guests last week. With rooms full of games and the opportunity to participate in Julie's yoga classes, you can make friends and share laughs. And without phone signal, you are free from the pressures of everyday life.

The gorgeous faces and brilliant minds at First Story work incredibly hard to make this week happen - one even hopped on a train from London to Bradford at the last minute to make sure everything ran smoothly from the North. They sit up all night making sure the kids are asleep, and run around all day reminding them to phone home.

But it is well worth it. On the final night, all the students share something they have been working on during the week. They stand up in front of their new friends and read out, loud and proud, and everyone has something to celebrate.

It is not just the students who massively enjoy the First Story residential. As a First Story teacher / librarian, I made new friends (kumbayah), wrote poetry I am proud of (including my Ode to Andrew McMillan), and participated in yoga for the first time (I flew!). Now I am back in the city, I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and I cannot wait to jump back into the First Story program in September!

No comments:

Post a Comment