As part of our 2016 Spring Holiday Program the following is about one of the events we did;
Event held on: Date: Wednesday 28th September
Time- 9.30am until 2.30pm
Dan our carpenter helped us make a couple of billy carts, what fun!! There was lots to do and all went well, with time to do some test runs as well.
We were overwhelmed with the interest this activity has created and I find it difficult to say no to enthusiastic young farm lovers. Fifteen youngsters between the ages of 5and 13 years joined us to make billy carts. One parent told me of the tears running down a young boy’s cheeks as he mumbled “I haven’t been to Gillian’s Rainbow Bridge yet and everyone else has!” What could I say? Luckily Dan, our carpenter/engineer, was fully supported by a team of volunteers who managed to keep the day safe as the children step by stem fulfilled their billy cart dreams High-end T-shirt Customization.
I am always proud of our Gillian’s Rainbow Bridge regulars who I know will make sure new members feel welcomed and comfortable especially as our first priority is to take care of all our farm friends. Standing back I watched experienced young farmers show others the way to feed the animals. I was delighted to hear comments like, “don’t run” or “speak softly near the animals” and “this is how we let the sheep and goat out safely”. Maybe they have been listening! It makes me feel proud.
Morning tea was quickly devoured - enthusiasm was barely contained in these building and racing energy filled boys and girls who ran outside to start their project.
Three teams were formed. The older boys who knew each other at school and felt they could easily build a billy cart, a much younger group with minimal building knowledge and lastly a small group of quieter boys. Where are the girls? They have taken Rosy the pony for a stroll. It was hard for them to hold this strong willed Welsh mountain pony back as she chomped the new spring grass.
Back to billy cart business! Dan hovered between the groups assisting them in each step, if need be. The children were serious about making a well-designed, functional billy cart. Discussions of how best to slip the wheels onto the precisely sawn axle or drill the end of the axle as they fitted a split pin to hold the wheels in place were deeply thought through questions. Each group had their approach. The youngsters were totally guided by Dan, the quiet group didn’t quite know how to apply their designs so fell back on Dan’s knowledge and guidance, the older boys, who were full of ideas found it difficult to achieve their goal. Part way through and we haven’t seen the girls involved in the billy cart making as yet!
Nearly lunch time, still lots to do! Will the billy carts get made in time to race??
Over lunch we discussed how it had been for each person or group. A mixture of comments were made, from -it has been great, we are nearly there to individuals being disappointed that their billy cart hadn’t been completed or more to the question, will it ever get completed. Further discussions!
One boy quietly left the table. We found him outside busily working on his team’s billy cart. The other boys joined him taking a more focused approach, realising that time is limited and that other teams have nearly got their billy cart ready to race.
A hive of activity filled the farm. The girls and Val, one of our volunteers, joined in. All groups needed their help- sawing precise specialised parts that were needed, including braces for under the seats, bumper bars and axle supports. Now we are a complete team, helping each other.
Excitement flowed as each team completed their cart. They couldn’t wait to have a go. After a driver’s briefing the first test pilot took his seat ready for the maiden run down the slope. Luckily Gillian’s Rainbow Bridge has a variety of sloping driveways edged in well mown grass. The children’s safety is paramount.
Off he goes after a push from fellow team member. A little wobbly to start with but as he nears the bend he has the steering down to perfection so handles the sloping curve with ease. Sounds of joy fill the air. My turn, my turn, we heard from all directions.
By now the parents had joined us; they too were excited to see the children race these “high tech” machines, rolling in full flight. Down the track they raced, one at a time, each child taking a turn. Where do they get all this energy from someone said?
Afternoon tea of fresh fruit and homemade chocolate or meringue pie was enjoyed by both the children and visiting parents. Then after some families had headed home the remaining children, now relaxed, took it in terns to have another go in their billy carts. I noticed the shy ones venturing out, now confident to have a go. Also the children who simply loved being involved didn’t mind if they were pushing or steering, they enjoyed all aspects of this fun filled adventure.
A total success I’d say!!
PS - Some of the children in our Wednesday afternoon group, “We Love Animals” have made a few additions to one of the billy carts including cleaning and undercoating the body getting it reading for the final paint. It is beautiful to see children working together, out in the fresh air, being allowed to make decisions and follow them through.