If you are a mum or dad looking into holiday club care or birthday party options for your child, Clifton College Outdoor Activity Centre offers awesome outdoor adventures for children through both Outdoor Activity Parties and School Holiday Clubs.
The Clifton College Activity Centre is situated within fantastic open space in Abbots Leigh, enabling children to roam freely and enjoy outdoor adventures, as well as amazing educational activities to stimulate their creativity and help them to develop practical skills.
In today’s post on Bristol Mum, I interview Ashley Stanton, Clifton College’s Holiday Club & Activity Centre Assistant Manager, to find out more about both the school holiday clubs and outdoor activity birthday parties on offer!
Hi Ashley, please tell me a bit about you and your role in the Outdoor Activity Parties and School Holiday Clubs at Clifton College.
Hi Hilary, my title within Clifton College is Holiday Club & Activity Centre Assistant Manager, my role is to manage the day to day operation and to promote and develop aspects of both businesses.
My professional background is very much outdoor orientated, prior to working for Clifton College I worked for a large adventure company, working in variety of their Centres around England gaining a wealth of experience and qualifications.
Since starting at Clifton College, I have been a fundamental part of the creation and development of the Outdoor Activity Centre and now assisting the management of the Holiday Club.
One part of our business is our Birthday Parties where a group of children or adults take part in a chosen outdoor activity which is led by one of our qualified instructors.
We organise the entire party, from the point of booking we’ll take all the pressure off parents, including sending you your invitations and planning the party food. All you need to do is bring the cake!
Have you always loved the Great Outdoors?
Absolutely. From a young age I have always been involved in the Outdoors, I went up through the ages of Cubs, Scouts and Explorers and I’m still a great advocate of the Scout movement and the benefits it gives to young people.
In my teenage years you would regularly find me hiking the Brecon Beacons, Mountain Biking on a variety of trails in the South West or surfing on the Devon/Cornish coast.
In adulthood, I am very fortunate to be able to work in the outdoor industry and I always look to find time to get out outside with friends and family to continue my recreational activities.
Who else is on the team of instructors at Clifton College?
As well as myself we have a great team of core instructors:
Rob – The Holiday Club and Activity Centre Manager. Rob comes from a background of youth working but also has a passion for Outdoor Activities. Rob also ran an outdoor centre from the Bristol Docks for a number of years.
Jennie – Jennie has a love for the outdoors and is fantastic at developing teamwork and leadership skills. She specialises in Special Educational Needs and Sign Language. She runs courses for our Holiday Club and Outdoor Activity Centre staff in order to ensure that they are fully trained to adapt themselves to suit individual needs.
Mike – Our Bushcraft/Handyman extraordinaire. Mike a very good all round instructor but specialises in Bushcraft and Survival skills, he is also a very good handyman and constructed a lot of our woodland Problem Solving facilities.
Martyn – Martyn is one of our level 3 Forest School leaders, he has also been Head Groundsman for Clifton College for 35 years. He is a fountain of knowledge in all-things Nature and Forestry – if Martyn doesn’t know it, it’s not worth knowing!
We also have a large team of brilliant freelance instructors who work at various times around the year.
What age range are your holiday club sessions aimed at?
We have 3 age ranges in our Holiday Club:
Minis – 3-4s
Juniors – 5-7s
Kids Club – 8-13s
During the Summer holiday we also run our Seniors Club (12-16s) who take part in a variety of 1 day courses which focus on more advanced outdoor skills.
What activities do the holiday club sessions include?
Minis – Based in Clifton College Nursery, our experienced staff support children to engage in age-appropriate activities with particular attention to personal development, interaction with others and most importantly – fun!
Juniors – Swimming is an important part of the Juniors’ day, Arts & Crafts, Sports Games and playground fun also fill their time. Juniors also get opportunities to spend mornings in the woodland on our Forest Fun course.
Kids’ Club – A typical Kids’ Club day includes a variety of age-appropriate activities. Free-time swimming with floats is very popular in the morning then the rest of the day includes a variety of themed choices. Our very popular activity courses vary from Creative such as Cookery and Art, Sport such as Football and Cricket, and Adventure Courses in our Outdoor Activity Centre including as Mountain Biking, Archery and themed courses such as our Spy Day.
What kind of outdoor activity parties do you offer?
Bushcraft and Archery are our two most popular party activities but we have a great list of options:
Trebuchet – Work as a team to build our Medieval Catapult, then fire footballs and water balloons over 30 metres!
Low Ropes – A series of obstacles that require teamwork and initiative
Problem Solving – Based in our woodland, we have a variety of challenges which will promote teamwork and leadership skills
Sensory Trail – Whilst blindfolded, groups have to follow a rope around the woodland going through obstacles along the way. Promotes good communication and leadership.
Orienteering – Teams race against each other to find checkpoints over our 80 acre site using maps and teamwork.
Geocaching – Latest technology treasure hunt type version of Orienteering using hand held GPS devices.
We have also recently had a treehouse constructed which will be finished in the next two weeks. This will be a fantastic addition to our parties where children can play and eat their party food up in the trees!
What ages are the outdoor activity parties aimed at?
From 7 years upwards for all activities. However for Forest School we can take younger children.
What happens if the weather is bad?
Due to the nature of Outdoor Activities, very bad weather can have a negative effect on the parties. We do have shelters for Archery and Bushcraft which allow us to continue to run the activity if it rains but if the forecast predicts a weather warning, we would have to put the safety of the group first and make the unfortunate decision to rearrange the party for another time.
What’s the best bit about your job?
Working with children is such a rewarding career, organising outdoor activities which are fun yet challenging. Seeing children learning new skills whilst having a great time is fantastic.
I am a firm believer that bringing the ‘classroom’ outside can be so beneficial for children who find learning inside challenging and they can progress far better once they are out in nature.
How can Bristol Mum readers find out more about the outdoor activity parties and school holiday clubs at Clifton College?
By visiting our website www.ccsl-cliftoncollege.com/ or telephoning 0117 3157 666.