Today I rediscovered my inner child on a work trip to Thorpe Park. After an absence of ten years (and the rest) I wasn’t sure it would elicit quite the same thrill but I’m pleased to report it was just as good – if not better – than when I went all those years ago. It was funny experiencing it through the eyes of an adult chaperone rather than a young person though. Our group was a diverse but lovely bunch and I couldn’t help but pick out the ones that reminded me of my group of friends when I was that age (needless to say these were, generally speaking, the ones at the gobbier end of the spectrum), and observe the way in which they interacted with the quieter members of the group.
There were moments when I felt the ‘adults’ (I will never get used to referring to myself as such) were more excited about the rides than the young people, and none more so than when me and my colleague ran off to buy fast track tickets for two of the rollercoasters – Saw and Colossus – and the two boys we were with at the time just ambled off to the arcade games, completely disinterested. In the end though there was something for everyone, and I think it’s safe to say the day was enjoyed by all, whether or not they partook in the rides. It was just lovely to see all of the young people interacting and enjoying the experience together – amazing when you consider these are kids who were deemed at risk of dropping out of school and becoming disengaged before they took part in the Teens and Toddlers programme in year 9 or 10 of secondary school. It just goes to show that encouraging young people to believe in themselves and develop to their full potential really does work.