At RPPS we aim to instil a sense of social responsibility in our pupils. Children and parents have the opportunity to vote for a charitable cause for the school to adopt and support for a two year period.
In March 2017 the pupils chose Over The Wall as the charity they wanted to support.
Who are Over the Wall?
A small national charity, Over The Wall provides camps for children aged 8 to 18 who are living with serious illness, as well as camps to support their siblings and families.
Living with a serious illness can be devastating for a child. Frequent hospital visits and a lack of energy mean that they miss out on some of the most important parts of childhood – school, holidays, birthday parties and days out. A lack of understanding from their peer group can leave them isolated and alone, with low confidence and little aspiration for their future.
But Over The Wall changes this.
“It took two staff and myself to carry all my child’s meds to Camp, but while he’s there, he’s going to be like any other boy.” - A parent of a child with a limiting life condition.
Last year OTW supported over 660 children and families, with 130 different health challenges through 12 camps across the UK.
Camp is a haven for these children, away from their day to day stressful lives. For once, they get to be normal – no one looks twice at a wheelchair or feeding tube on camp, it’s all perfectly normal; taking medication and having injections everyday - that’s camp routine.
Over six days children can kick back and enjoy new, fun activities and make life-long friends, whilst parents know they’re in safe hands.
“Camp is quite simply magic. It is a magical place, and the magic doesn't just stay at camp- it comes home with you. It makes you feel like you can achieve anything, and you realise that being happy is the most important thing in life. It makes you feel well.” - Camper with Cancer, aged 13.
But camps aren’t just about fun. Our volunteer team are all trained in therapeutic recreation – a positive feedback loop to help each child’s personal development. We highlight their skills and successes on camp, enabling them to gain confidence which they can take home with them.
We like to imagine that the Therapeutic Recreation model helps campers build an invisible suit of armour up over the week. When they go home, they take this with them to help protect them and remind them of how brave they are. Next time they face something challenging, whether that is a painful treatment, problems with friends, or even bullying, they’re able to use this armour and draw on their OTW camp experience to help them cope.
What does an OTW day look like?
We have many activities that take place on camp – climbing, abseiling, kayaking, swimming, arts and crafts, music, theatre, fishing, disco and talent night:
Wake up, breakfast and morning sing-song!
Morning activity – Drama!
Morning activity 2 – Zip line
Lunch time (and fun challenges such as eating without using cutlery!)
Rest period/open games and reflection
Afternoon activity 1 – Art!
Afternoon activity 2 – Climbing tower!
Evening activity – Disco!
Hot chocolate and Cabin Chat (a time to reflect on the day)
The Beach Hut
The Beach Hut is where campers go when they need a doctor or a nurse. The Beach Hut team are all fully trained volunteer Doctors and Nurses - but, they get to dress up like they’re at the beach! This makes visiting them much more fun than going to the hospital. But also helps campers see their usual doctors as normal fun people, taking away some of the fear from their future hospital visits.
To make the Beach Hut extra fun, campers often have to do challenges to get their morning medication – this might be singing or dancing, and sometimes they even get to do the volunteers’ face paint!
Where are OTW based?
Whilst you can find our head office down on the Hampshire coast, our camps take place across the UK. This year, we have camps in Dorset, Wiltshire, Staffordshire and Perthshire to make sure we can reach as many sick children as possible.
What will OTW do with funds raised by RPPS
OTW has a long waiting list of children who would love to go to camp - but sometimes there aren’t enough places. With RPPS’s support children can come off the waiting list and experience the Over The Wall camps.
Every penny RPPS raises will go directly towards making sure more children go to camp.
In their words...
‘’It is impossible to put and Over The Wall Camp into words. From the staff and volunteers, to the campers: every single person at Over the Wall is just incredible” - camper, aged 9 and living with cancer
“It was after we returned home when the true experience of Over the Wall became apparent. There was a different attitude - a can try and will try attitude. His eyes lit up when he remembered his week and all he had accomplished.” - camper parent whose child has a life-limiting condition.