The teachers, parents and students of Recognize academy seem to be more of a large multicultural family than a school. With so many familiar faces on this trip we were very excited to prepare another week of adventures for the students, this time on China’s tropical island – Hainan. The ages of the students travelling with ranged from 5-15 and our aim was to create an inspirational adventure that also offers them all the opportunity learn some fantastic life skills. It was a pleasure to see them take to these challenges with the ‘joie de vivre’ that we’ve come to expect from this delightful group.
The week flew by and each participant, some for the very first time, got to have a go at a medley of:
- Survival training
- Team building games
- Beach parkour
- Swing making
- SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding)
- Coconut tree climbing
With colourful and unusual vegetation, surf breaks and enticing sandy beaches, Hainan is a perfect place for these activities and the playing about in-between. It was incredible to see so many of the group managing to catch a wave, stand up and ride into the beach, beaming from ear to ear after just one morning.
On the last day and the culmination of the trip, the children boarded a yacht to sail to a nearby ‘untouched’ island to test out their survival skills and enjoy the natural environment. Imagine had been granted permission to visit this island on the basis of an ‘environmental mission’ to run a litter picking activity. On all of our trips we aim to leave everywhere we visit in a better state that we find it – on this particular beach it wasn’t that difficult and one of the Teachers, Will, made a bizarre and rather troubling discovery.
As a keen diver himself, Will’s eye was drawn to a perplexing abundance of snorkel mouthpieces strewn all over the beach among the other metal glass and plastic debris. The concept of divers visiting this beach to enjoy seeing marine life, while discarding single use plastic mouth pieces and cable ties, with no consideration of their negative impact on the very thing they have come to appreciate is nothing short of insanity.
We had planned for an epic beach BBQ and some snorkelling but after a week of perfect weather the heavens finally opened and we decided to leave slightly earlier. Although on this occasion the children didn’t get to experience the wonders of snorkelling they did bring back an important environmental message to share with the the wider community.
The natural environment is our office and we care very deeply about protecting it so the children on our trips can continue to love plants animals and places we as much as we do. It’s a shame for children to be left with natural environments tainted by the current throw away society that values convenience and profit above all, and an even greater shame for them to live in a less biodiverse world resulting form the ‘throw away’ mentality evident on this beach.
It was an epic adventure…