Wild Family Fun

Tales of living, working and enjoying life in the outdoors


April 24, 2015

A New Beginning: A Karma Way Forward.

I’ve been very quiet with my blog over the past few weeks and, those who know me in the ‘outside’ world, will know that I’ve been going through a very drastic, life-changing experience during recent months.

For over a year, I’ve had the threat of redundancy hanging over me. I worked for the Local Authority delivering outdoor educational and non-educational activities to children and young people throughout Cardiff. We worked with children from age five all the way up to young adults of college-age, delivering a mix of adventures walks, canoeing trips, climbing, surfing, gorge walking….. suffice to say that if it’s an outdoor activity, we delivered it. We mainly worked with children and young people who weren’t in mainstream school, or who would normally be unable to have the opportunity to take part in these activities.

As we all know, Local Councils are facing the task of making huge budget cuts, and so lots of projects similar to mine, (such as play centres, libraries and youth clubs), have all been under threat of closure. We had a year of fighting for our cause with wonderful support from the people that we work with, the schools we deliver to, and families whose children who have attended our activities.

However, after lots of wishing and hoping that we’d be saved, we were told just after Christmas that we were definitely to be axed, and our project would be closed at the end of March.

The news was devastating. I was one of the lucky people in the world who could say, with all sincerity, that I loved my job. My experiences through this job have been amazing, and I’ve been able to share those experiences with family, and loving and enjoying the outdoor world is a huge part of our family life. I started on a three-month secondment which happily turned into an eight year career, and taught me the job and career that I wanted to have in life.

A big part of the rewards of that job is that I’ve worked with some amazing and talented people. It’s really hard to put into words how much fun we had, and how much we laughed. Of course there were down-days, but the good days definitely outweighed the tough days. Fantastically, silly days. We were definitely young at heart having snowball fights, tumbling down sand dunes and enjoying the activities as much as the children and young people we worked with.

The people I worked with also saw me at my worst. Crying, (actually sobbing), when I was confronted with a caving activity, as this was my biggest fear. There were moments when I would be crawling through a cave with tears streaming down my face! But I had lots of support and cwtches, and it was only when we were in the car park that my colleagues would make jokes and lighten the mood.

I have also had the opportunity to work with wonderful coaches, who always shared their knowledge and experience to teach me so much. I know that without their help and guidance, I really would not be in the happy position that I am now, with my outdoor pursuit career. I will always be grateful for the help and guidance I received while in work.

Over eight years, we worked some brilliant groups and met such wonderful young people. Working with these groups showed us that delivering outdoor activities were immensely beneficial. Some of those young people we’ve known since they were teenagers, and we’ve seen them grow into wonderful adults, and it’s been a pleasure to know them and now call them friends. I don’t mind saying that in particular Lauren Jones this bit is about you!

Without getting on my soap box, I worry for, and also feel very angry about, the children and young people who we worked with most recently, and what opportunities they’ll have, (or not), now that we’re gone. We had experiences of taking young people to the beach for the very first time because, sadly, they were never taken as a child. One child even asked me if you had to pay to go on the beach, not understanding that it was free and open to all. There were young people who found that mainstream education just didn’t suit them but, by getting them outside, it showed them the huge potential and learning opportunities in a tactile environment. It taught them about important life and social skills, things that can’t necessarily be learnt in the classroom.

As my title of this post says, it is a new beginning in my life. I think we all understand that a job is never for life, nowadays, and I’ve struggled hard to find a way to make something positive out of this experience.

So I’m going it alone!

I’ve been very, very lucky to be able to form a small business, (albeit a name to start with). I’m very grateful to all my colleagues who’ve helped point me in the right direction in order to gain freelance work. I’m also very lucky to be able to draw upon my qualifications and experience, which is allowing me to deliver Forest School free-play sessions, as well as stepping up my teaching and support within the local D of E organisation.

And I have to say a huge “thank you” to my husband who has supported me throughout this difficult time. Not just with my loss of my job, but he has given me the strength and support to show me I can work for myself. His support has been what’s helped me through this experience and, when I would wake at 2 o’clock in the morning panicking, he would tell me everything will be ok, and I’ll be fine! It’s really pulled us together.

My old post formally dissolved just over a month ago. Throughout that time, this is the first chance I’ve had to actually sit in front of a screen, and write a post to express my feelings.

To sum up, I’ve been scared when the cuts were announced. I’ve been strong by trying to maintain a professional front in work, and I’ve tried to support my colleagues and clients to the best of my ability. I’ve had to learn a great deal, in short order, about setting up on my own, pitching for work, and so-on. But I’ve had loads of help along the way.

I think I’m beginning to understand karma. Try to be nice, and people respond nicely. Help, and you’ll be helped back. I really hope I can continue to help, (in some small way), to bring some fun outdoor adventures to those young people who wouldn’t normally get that chance.

The benefits are boundless, and the rewards aren’t always obvious, but can be found in so many different ways!!

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12 thoughts on “A New Beginning: A Karma Way Forward.

  1. nicole webber says:

    You blog makes great reading. With your passion and talents you will do well. I, we wish you all the best on your new adventure. Xx

    1. kim says:

      Thank you so much Nic, a lovely message. Lots of great support from friends which has helped loads.

  2. What a delight to see you back again.It’s been worrying having you missing from our screens.
    So you’ve been made redundant. Well that’s only by the Local Education Authority not by us and when you have a problem remember we’re here to share it.
    Congratulations Kim on taking the decision to work for yourself. I’m sure you won’t regret it, and certainly anyone who makes use of your skills and training is likely to remember the experience for the rest of their life even if for you it’s just another day at the office.
    I hope you go from strength to strength Kim. Good Luck.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    1. kim says:

      Hi David,
      Finally a post and I’m back!
      Always missed your comments and knew a kind and caring one would be waiting.
      Just a horrible few months but life goes on and we must move with it.
      Such lovely words from you and I am so grateful, really cheers me up and makes me smile.
      Glad to be back and cant wait to check in with you.
      Thank you again,
      Sending lovely thoughts your way,
      Kim

  3. Ryan says:

    Very nice Kim! Without sounding like a stuck record and I know I’ve said it over and over but “You’ll be fine”.

    1. kim says:

      Thank you and I’m glad you liked it.
      Dont mind the stuck record thing, its nice that so many people saying it.
      Will miss COAT so much but will remember the good times!
      Thank you for looking in on my blog.

  4. Candy Cook says:

    How exciting for you! I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your previous organization, it sounds like it was fantastic. But, I’m so happy for you that you have found a way to continue with that spirit and move forward still providing these awesome experiences for others. Good luck!

    1. kim says:

      Hi,
      Thank you for reading my post. Something I didnt want to post but after the shock and sadness wore off, I realised that you must move forward and look to the future.
      I am lucky to be able to still deliver these activites and work with getting people outside and enjoying the outdoors.
      Thank you for a lovely comment.

  5. Mark says:

    A lovely heart felt message Kim. It’s an honour to work with you and I can’t wait for our next expedition together. All the best 🙂

    1. kim says:

      Hi Mark,
      Thank you so much for looking and for such a lovely comment. A post I didnt really want to have to write, but all things in life have to change and we have to move along with it.
      Looking forward to our Summer expeditions and the chance to eat lots of lovely cake!
      Thank you again,
      Kim

  6. Ninjacat says:

    I wish you the very best of luck .. xx you are a great spirit

    1. kim says:

      Thank you, such a lovely comment. Onward and upward I think.

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