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A holiday of Firsts…my first ever trip abroad outside of School Holidays…and as I am currently in a bar in Corfu, writing this latest post on my i-Pad, frappe and feta salad at hand…my first ever ‘remote posting’.
Honestly, I don’t know how folk survived before places with free Wi-Fi access. Answers on a postcard please…
My Wi-Fi session gave me a brief opportunity to catch up on e-mails, some of which regarded Evolve and their forthcoming ‘XLR8 Transition Camps’.
There is a certain degree of irony here, in that this exciting programme aims to provide innovative ways to enthuse, engage and activate Year 6 pupils across the UK, with a focus on promoting physicality. I say ironic, as I seem to be surrounded by many people from many nations, many of whom are overweight and obese. I realise that people unwind and let themselves go on holiday, but some of these people must be on holiday permanently. Some of the sights on the beaches have been far from ‘picturesque’ and for this reason, I attach only a few landscape images…
I am aware that I am treading on very delicate matters here. I admire and respect the work of people like @BodyGossipTash http://www.bodygossip.org/ and @therealgokwan http://www.gokwan.com/tv/goks-teens-the-naked-truth/
Furthermore, I have become increasingly aware of Body Dismorphic Disorders and recognise the intensity of media pressure on having the perfect look / body.
Recent discussions with @dawnhallybone at #CampEd12 revealed that there is growing evidence of low self-image with children in Year 5, surprisingly with boys being more ‘at risk’ than girls.
However, there needs to be a balance…a sensible approach, with education taking a leading role. I do not wish to climb on the proverbial soap box, but the risks associated with inactivity and poor diet, both short and long term, are immense.
According to a Department of Health Report last month,  in 2010 in the UK:
62.8% of adults (aged 16 or over) were overweight or obese;
30.3% of children (aged 2-15) were overweight or obese;
26.1% of all adults and 16% of all children were obese.
The Government and the NHS recognise the potential threats but I feel more needs to be done and with a greater degree of urgency.
There are many examples of outstanding practice in health education in the UK.
XLR8 Transition CampsThe pioneering work of organisations such as Evolve, with their successful Project HE:RO programme and forthcoming ‘XLR8 Transition Camps’ represent different solutions. Initially seen as 1 week events, successful bidding for funding has meant that XLR8 will now operate over 2 weeks at centres in venues around the UK.
During these sessions, the Health Mentors will develop purposeful activities that develop physicality, not just sport. According to a recent Sky News report, Tanni Grey-Thompson expressed her concern that in the UK girls are being ‘turned off’ by sport and that alternative opportunities are needed to promote their health and fitness. Many of these ‘anti-fitness’ attitudes are embedded while at school. Again the media in the UK need to accept some responsibility…just compare the coverage of women in sport in the UK with that in the USA and Australia. I hope, maybe naively, that the Olympics can kick-start a campaign to raise the profile of women in sport and help create positive role models for females.
I look forward to posting links to the ‘XLR8 Transition Camp’ blog-site in due course. But right now, I really need to go for a swim…these frappes are becoming kind of addictive…

The Falafel and Hummus Wrap vs Pot Noodle Debate

‘A falafel and hummus wrap? With tomato and cucumber?! That has to be the most middle-class breakfast ever…’  These were the words uttered in good humour by @dughall on the Sunday morning of the inaugural and most memorable #CampEd12.

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Organised by @dughall, @Joga5 and others, #CampEd12 brought together some 80 souls from the world of Twitter to Hardnaze Farm, Oxenhope, whose land and barn had been kindly donated by Sue, Mum of @helendaykin.

Following on from a random conversation about training events and sheds, #CampEd12 was definitely a case of ‘Build it and they will come…’  The participants, the ‘CampEders’, came from all over the UK, some staying at local B&Bs, but most opting to camp in the field, despite the forecasts of Minus 5 from @caronstone .

The concept of meeting folk face to face from the online Twitter community was initially daunting for some, my-self included. However, the warmth of the welcomes meant that stepping out of the comfort zone was not really an issue.

The activities on offer were varied and wonderful in their own ways:

These activities were supplemented by marathon football sessions led by @chrismayoh, with the evening entertainment provided by @dan_bowen and  @kvnmcl accompanied by Josh Lord et al.

The conversations and opportunities to learn more during the event were plentiful, especially during meals provided by the wonderful owners and staff at the Waggon and Horses. Oxenhope.

‘Session ales’ to quote @mattpearson, helped enhance some conversations, the most animated of which followed a discussion of the books, ‘Chavs: the Demonization of the Working Class’, by Owen Jones and ‘The Spirit Level’, by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. We allowed ourselves some well-deserved slaps on the back for being present at the weekend, but recognized that the next step is to bring the learning experiences of the weekend to a wider audience. At the risk of causing controversy, the question, ‘How can we enable children and families from non-middle class backgrounds to participate in future events?’ arises.  Food for thought…for the eaters of falafel and hummus wraps, as well as the Pot Noodle brigade.

So, to those friends who initially asked what I was doing for the May Bank Holiday and pulled various faces, you missed out on something very special indeed. Don’t take my word for it, just ask the Twitter-Folk above as well as:

…and everyone else who ensured the success of #CampEd12. Apologies if I have not mentioned you by name…

Hopefully we will meet again at #CampEd13…with maybe some Newbies too.

Bryn Llewellyn