Family and community are themes that are embedded in the work we do here at Team Fostering. We know that we are stronger as a team, and one part of our work that really supports this is our extensive activity programme, coordinated by the Team Fostering Education and Support Service. Our Placements Officer in Yorkshire and East Midlands, Sally, explored how our activities bring staff, carers and young people together in fun and exciting ways.
"Remember back to your childhood, what can you remember the most? Was it a family trip to the seaside? A trip to the zoo? Or maybe walk to the park with your school friends? These memories are special for us all but sadly, not all children are privileged to enjoy these experiences due to their upbringing and life at home. Team Fostering recognise this, which is why we have activities running throughout the year so that our foster children have the chance to experience various days out and events with their fostering family.
My family and I started our fostering journey in 2013 as emergency carers, then once my dad retired we changed our approval to be short term carers for children. Throughout our fostering journey, we have attended different activities provided by our fostering provider and recognised the importance of attending these events for the foster children in our care.
On my second day at Team Fostering, I attended my first ‘Team Activity Day’ which was at Ninja Warrior. If I am being completely honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Upon my arrival, I was amazed to hear that we had hired the whole venue for a couple of hours and the venue was closed to the public. The morning had such a lovely feeling to it, children were seeing their friends that they had made through other team days out and they went off onto the equipment together, they were incredibly supportive of one and other and most importantly had lots of fun! It was lovely to see the relationships between carers too, they all seemed to know each other and the children that they were fostering. Children were climbing up the warped wall and carers were videoing and cheering them on from the side lines. The whole morning had a ‘togetherness’ feeling about it and the children were sad to leave. The event was such a success, that we went back again this year for even more adventuring!
A few weeks later I then attended our ‘Celebration of Achievements’ ceremony which was really rewarding. The children especially loved the surf machine and again were stood around, cheering one another on and laughing and joking together. I took a moment to stand back and look around and every child had a huge smile on their face. When giving out the certificates for all the achievements over the previous year, it was eye-opening to see the opportunities that our children have had and lovely to see how proud they were of their achievements. After the achievements had been handed out, children, carers and staff continued to enjoy the evening, some played games of badminton, some were creating glitter tattoos and others enjoying a game of connect 4. There was something for everyone to enjoy!
Each year, Team Fostering arrange a together day for all staff, carers and children. Our theme last year was a ‘Zombie Apocalypse’, and although at first I was again unsure what to expect, the whole day was great fun and it was great to see all our children and families. The day was filled with team building activities and then a trip out on the lake on pedalo boats. The children were so excited to participate and showed huge enthusiasm in each activity. Some older children were asking all day when it would be time to go on the lake. Whilst on the lake, children were swapping seats, racing other boats and creating a ‘snake’ by tying boats together and pedalling around (obviously with the supervision of staff and carers!!) We sat together at lunch time with picnic blankets and camping chairs and chatted whilst eating lunch. The whole day emphasised the positive relationships that carers, children and staff all have as children played together and adults chatted amongst themselves.
Every day at Team I am learning about the different activities and experiences that we provide for our children and young people and the positive impact this has for them. Our children within the agency receive opportunities to build relationships with children in similar situations to themselves whilst participating in fun filled activities. As the saying goes, ‘there is no I in Team’ and I feel Team Fostering advocate this as an agency."