I’ll let you in on a little secret…I am terrified of needles.

My fear is totally irrational because I know it doesn’t really hurt and even if it does prick a little bit, it only lasts for about a second and then it’s all over. Shame I didn’t realise this sooner because now it’s too late and the fear has embedded itself in my subconscious and I just can’t get rid of it.

Several years ago I was due to go travelling and needed to have a number of vaccinations. At 22 you’d think I’d be able to manage on my own, but no, I had to take mummy with me! Yesterday I had to go for a blood test. Aware that I needed to remember to breathe, I took myself to my happy place (top of a snow covered mountain in case you were wondering) and focussed on how good it would feel to be able to call my mum and tell her I’d done it. Truth be told, it was over so quick I was a little bit disappointed not to be able to stay in my happy place for longer!

It got me thinking about fear and how it has two sides; from terrified sweaty palms on one side to adrenaline-fuelled elation on the other. Whether it’s needles, spiders or heights, the sense of achievement when you’ve faced your fear is one of the most incredible feelings in the world and each time we face our fears we’re one step closer to getting rid of it once and for all.

Challenging Yourself

Whilst we’d never make anyone do anything they don’t want to, Altitude camps provide children with a safe and supportive environment to challenge themselves; whether that’s facing full-blown fears or just gently extending the boundaries of their comfort zones. Our wonderful staff, along with the diverse range of activities on offer gives children the confidence to realise their potential and prove to themselves that they are capable of more than they might think. This self-belief is a significantly important value and one which they will carry forward in all of their future endeavours.

For example, exploring the mountain on two wheels is a really fun way to cover a lot of ground relatively quickly, but at times can be pretty scary (don’t worry they are all wearing helmets and protective clothing). This activity teaches children that they are in control; if it feels like they’re going too fast they can put the brakes on. They can push themselves to go faster (so long as our staff can keep up with them!) or they can go at a pace that’s comfortable for them. All that matters is that they are happy and having fun. This lesson demonstrates that we are all in control of our own lives; if things are going too fast all you have to do is apply the brakes.

Another example is the high ropes course. Navigating their way through a course of rope bridges, balance beams and zip wires high up in the trees, the high ropes activity encourages children to test themselves physically and mentally with the reassuring knowledge that there’s a safety harness supporting them at all times. This teaches them that you can push yourself and if you do fall it won’t be far, you won’t hurt yourself and you will learn from your mistakes, so next time you face the same or similar obstacle you’ll be better prepared and more successful.

Inspirational Pride

Each day, the pride beaming from their huge smiles as they regale stories of their heroic bravery is infectious, inspiring us all to take one step closer towards eradicating our fears for good. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to give to blood!