Atalanta’s and Vincent’s annual Outreach camp in 2019 was held in the 9th week of Trinity Term. This year over 50 Year 6 students from Larkrise Primary School came down to the Iffley Road Sports Complex for a volunteer-led program of activities and sports from members of both clubs. This years camp follows on from previous camps as well as after-school clubs run by Atalanta’s and Vincent’s members, testament to the ongoing relationship between the school and clubs.
This year as in previous years, the camp has focussed on teaching the students particular skills that are crucial in academic and sporting success, as well as everyday life. All the activities we did revolved around effective communication, teamwork and leadership, discipline, and responsibility. Instead of focussing on traditional sports which some students may have played more than others, we endeavoured to do sports and activities that they had little-to-no exposure to, in order to reinforce the skills we wanted to focus on. This year we did a range of activities from basketball and hockey to blindfolded obstacle courses and cricket. On the final day, the students were split into 6 groups and had to invent their own game using only the equipment on hand, then explain it to another group and play it with them. By the end of the camp, all the students had improved across all areas- they were able to describe traits of good leaders, team players, and elements of effective communication that will transfer to other areas of life.
Alongside incredible volunteers from the clubs that compete in a variety of sports, we were lucky to have some other club members come and speak to the students over lunchtime about their sport, their journey in it, and what they think makes a great scholar-athlete. This year we had Rebecca Robinson, Lacrosse player and Atalanta’s President speak alongside Isabelle Scott, Australian national-standard middle distance runner. We also had Sooraj Mahesh, lightweight rower and medical student speak alongside Lucy Farquhar, GB junior triathlete who medalled at European Championships. All of the athletes had great interactive discussions about their sports and the skills and traits required to excel in sport and academic life.
The most rewarding aspect of the camp as its on-the-day leader was seeing the interactions between students change each day. Students that were shy and less interested in sports were throwing themselves into all of the activities, and more boisterous students were thoughtful and inclusive of all members of their classes. These changes are testament to the role that our volunteers played each day in reinforcing the values we wanted to instill.
Atalanta’s and Vincent’s clubs would like to give thanks to the assistance of others which enabled it to run so effectively. We thank OURFC and the Sports Department for allowing us access to their facilities and to Magdalen College School for providing food for the students. We thank the Oxford University Hockey and Women’s Cricket Club for providing equipment to be used. A big thank you goes out to all of the volunteers who gave their holiday and work time to put on such a great experience. The final thank you goes to the staff and students at Larkrise for coming along and having such a great time with us.
Atalanta’s Outreach Secretary