Teenagers with diabetes descended on Adventure Centres all over the country for a day of activity, fun and challenges as part of Diabetes Ireland’s Annual National Teen Activity Day which took place on July 11th. This initiative provides teenagers with diabetes an ideal opportunity to meet others from the same area as themselves and to share in the fun activities together for a day. There were between ten and twenty teens in each group with ages ranging from 10yrs to 16yrs old.
Blackwater Outdoor Activities, Cork
The southern venue for activities was the Blackwater Outdoor Activity Centre, Castletownroche, Co Cork. We had two busses running this year with 7 travelling from Cork City and 5 travelling from Tralee, with two lads arriving by car from Tipperary.
The activities began at 10am, the first event was river tubing along the scenic river Awbeg, this was a very relaxing way to ease us into the activities planned for the day, that’s if you didn’t mind having to run across the upside down tubes (pictured?) archery was next on the agenda, this unfortunately looks easier than it is. We had teams of two competing against each-other this proved to be very competitive. At this stage we were all well a truly ready for lunch and thanks to Sean the chef we had a fabulous BBQ, after all the teens were fed and watered and blood checks were completed we heading out to the second part of the day, starting with the High Ropes which to our teens was a doddle, completed in quick time we were on to the amazing zip-wire which is one of the longest in Ireland running over the forest and the river Awbeg. We still had two more activities to complete so more quick checks of all the glucose levels and we were off again, this time it was the terrifying High swing, where we were hoisted to a height of 50 feet or more and suddenly left to plunge at great speed into a fantastic swinging motion, then if your legs could hold you up, you attempted to climb the climbing wall which in fairness to the teen all attempted. When asked at the end of the day what was the best activity all the teens agreed that the high swing was the best.
The day was expertly run by the staff in the Centre Conor, the two Seans Olan and Kevin.
Donegal Adventure Centre
A beautiful morning greeted teens from Monaghan, Longford, Sligo and Donegal gathered together at Donegal Adventure Centre.
There were a lot of familiar faces with a few first timers also and it wasn’t long before everyone was kitted out ready for their surfing class. After some practicing on the beach it was into the water to ride the waves for real (or at least, try to!) Great fun but definitely not easy.
Alas the lovely morning turned into a wet afternoon for climbing, abseiling and some mid-air acrobatics. Everybody showed a great mix of enthusiasm, courage and agility.
By the time 4 o’clock came, the tired group was ready for home, having had a great day and renewed old friendships.
A big thank you to the staff in Donegal Adventure Centre who made the day so enjoyable for everyone.
Hidden Valley Park, Wicklow
It was an early start for our teens as they made their way to the Diabetes Ireland Head Office in Santry and Wexford for 8:00am. They were met by buses and the 2 groups came together at Hidden Valley Holiday Park in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. Here they were met by the brilliant owner, Barry McNulty. Barry got all the kids in the right gear and sent them out on bumper boats and kayaks. There were plenty of splashes as the kids learnt to get the hang of the kayaks.
After a quick change into dry clothes the group was split in two. The first group went off to try their hand at some archery and shooting (not real guns, we promise). The 2nd group made their way to the game zone for some giant puzzles and challenges.
After a quick lunch of chips, burgers and nuggets the groups swapped over activities. Once everyone had tried each activity the headed for the playgrounds where they were given 2 tokens to go on the activity of their choice. They got to choose between bungee jumping, rock climbing or water zorbing. All supervised by Barry and his team. The kids loved this part, we thought we’d never get them back on the bus.
A big thank you to Barry McNulty and all his staff. They went out of their way to ensure our group had an amazing day and were extremely accommodating so thank you all.
Expertise and professionalism
As always the expertise and professionalism of all the staff and leaders at the centers made for a fun, safe and stress free day. Thank you for making the day so enjoyable for everyone.
The day would not have been possible without the nurses and volunteers who gave so generously of their time, kept an expert eye on everyone and were at hand to help out with the little things on the day. Helena, Siobhán and Karen in Blackwater, Bernie, Deirdre and Bernie in Hidden Valley, Avril, Sinead and Aoife in Bundoran. Thank you all for being so generous with your time and for fully embracing the day.
All Diabetes Ireland staff had a great time too and really saw the value in having a safe, fun-filled activity day for teens with diabetes which allowed them to not just to enjoy themselves but also to meet others living in the same area with diabetes. Everyone is really looking forward to next year.