Are you ready?

altAre you a young person planning to visit Kent Mountain Centre?
If so, read on ...

altDear Student
I am pleased to hear you will be coming to Kent Mountain Centre on a visit.

The buildings at KMC are a big old house and a cottage which are situated at the top of a wooded bank leading down to a lake. The accommodation is basic rather than luxurious but we believe there is everything here you need to be comfortable.

The Mountain Centre is in Snowdonia, which is a beautiful area of rugged mountains and deep valleys. The mountains, rivers, forests and coastline of Snowdonia provide the places to go for the adventure activities which our groups undertake.

The activity programme will have been designed by your teacher, youth worker or other leader, in consultation with me and taking into account the purpose and aims of the visit. I hope that you will have been given some information about the programme you will be following. When you are here, we will try to to carry out the programme as planned, but sometimes changes are made because of the weather or other factors. The instructors here work hard to give each group the best possible opportunities, and a slightly flexible approach to the programme helps us to do this.

altI hope this letter will help you to prepare yourself for your Mountain Centre visit. One way of preparing is to be physically fit when you arrive. I suggest you try to do as much sport and as much walking as possible in the six weeks leading up to the visit. We cater for all shapes and sizes of people in our work here, and we are interested in all young people, not just the good athletes and very fit ones. However, we know from experience that you will enjoy the activities more if you have prepared your body for some strenuous exercise.

You do not need to have your own waterproofs and boots to come here, and we hope that you will not have to buy any special clothes either. A lot of our students manage to borrow suitable clothes and socks from friends and relatives. Thick woolly socks make a big difference to the comfort of your feet in the leather walking boots we shall lend you. With regard to clothing, thermal and fleece tops and nylon tracksuit trousers are better than cotton ones for the activities.

Being mentally prepared for the visit is just as important as being physically prepared. The best attitude is one where you are ready to have a go at new things and try hard at each one.

MO1L7121_200pxWhen I say this I am thinking about life in and around the Centre as well as on the activities. For example, you are probably not used to sharing a bedroom with several other people. That can be fun. It can also be a strain sometimes and yet you will need to make certain you are getting plenty of rest and sleep in order to keep up your energy level through the week.

The food at KMC is very nice, and there is lots of it, but it may not be exactly what you are used to at home. You need to be ready to eat some unfamiliar food because the fresh air and exercise will mean your body needs a lot of fuel.

You must be prepared to listen carefully to instructions given by group leaders and by Mountain Centre staff. The instructors are all experienced and qualified in leading the adventure activities, but your safety, and other people¹s safety as well, depends on you following instructions precisely.

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Even when adventure activities go well, there are often a few bumps and scrapes. Instructors, group staff and students need to work well together to try to ensure that nothing more serious than these minor injuries happens.

A lot of our students have some worries or fears about the activities. This is understandable and you will find that the instructors are very sympathetic and will try to help you to overcome your fears.

Finally, it is a good idea to be open-minded about who you are going to talk to and spend time with. We all have a tendency to want to stick with our friends, but your visit to KMC is a good chance to work with some new people and perhaps make some new friends. So please try not to be disappointed if you find yourself in a different group from your friend. Staff will have given careful thought to group lists and there will be good reasons why you have been put in that group.

The instructors at Kent Mountain Centre look forward to meeting you and the rest of your group.

We are all enthusiastic mountaineers and canoeists who enjoy sharing our adventures with others.

I hope to see you soon,

Mike Russell
Llanberis, North Wales, UK