Equal Access for All: Keeping the Adventure Journey Costs Down

In April last year, Tullamore College students undertook their Gaisce Adventure Journey with a twist – an overnight sleep in the school. While Covid-19 restrictions were gradually being lifted throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, the President Award Leaders at Tullamore College were still concerned that certain aspects of the Adventure Journey may be affected. Given the prices of looking towards other organisations to host students for the Adventure Journey, and the potential for cancellation, the PAL’s decided to organise the Adventure Journey with their own school, Tullamore College, as the central point for staying over.

All staff and students involved did an antigen test before getting on the bus to Pullough and walking back to Tullamore College along the fantastic Grand Canal Greenway facility. Day 1 walking distance was almost 17 kilometres. With the school as the end-destination on Day 1, it was important to arrive back after the conclusion of after-school extra-curricular activities.

Students were met by a new team of teachers and kept busy on their return to school. They were not permitted to leave the school grounds in the interest of safety and supervision. After some very entertaining Team Building Activities, students participated in a quiz naming songs, guessing movies from their soundtracks and trying to write the funniest joke, followed by a hot chocolate and Coco Pop supper. Students then set up the gym as a giant bedroom and settled in to watch Shrek before eventually going to sleep.

Overnight, the curtain was pulled across between the 2 halves of the gym. The girls slept on the South side, and the boys on the North, corresponding to the position of the bathrooms on the corridors outside.

After waking up bright and early, students and staff packed all of the sleeping bags away and turned the bedroom back into a gym before the arrival of students at 8 a.m. After breakfast, the students set off on the second leg of their walk in the direction of Ballycommon. They reached Ballycommon by lunchtime, completing their 25 kilometre target, and enjoyed some celebratory cake at the Ballycommon Bake House.

Feedback from the students was extremely positive for this initiative, and it sparked curiosity among the rest of the student body about “The Big School Sleepover”. Students paid a total of €15 to cover food, bus and antigen test costs. This initiative was such a success that the Tullamore College President Award Leaders are going to do the same again this year.

Want to share your Gaisce experience? Get in touch with emily@gaisce.ie.

If you’re a participant or awardee, we’d love to hear about your Challenge Areas activities, your Adventure Journey, what you gained from Gaisce and if you’re thinking of going for the next award level!

If you’re a President’s Award Leader, we’d love to hear about how long you’ve been a President’s Award Leader, what your experience has been, what you’ve gained, memorable moments and what motivates you be a PAL!

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