Hop on a Plane
Constructive ways to use the summer holiday
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to consider various ways of using our free time during the summer holiday.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the YouTube video ‘ViewRanger #microadventure with Alastair Humphreys’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.01 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EttUE-CdQ9g
- Familiarize yourself with Alastair Humphreys’ concept of microadventures by visiting his website at: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/microadventures/ or by reading his book, Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes.
- Optional: you may wish to research local holiday events and local opportunities for volunteering.
- I wonder if, like me, you’re ready for a holiday. If you could hop on a plane right now, where would you choose to go?
Listen to a range of responses.
- I can see that there are lots of holiday destinations - many of them rather exotic - in the wish lists you’ve given me. And some of you may well visit some of these places during the summer holiday that we are all looking forward to.
- What do people look for in their ideal holiday?
For many, it’s simply the chance to relax and play, ideally in the sunshine. Activities will be high on the list for some, the chance to experience sports and adrenaline highs that aren’t readily available here at home. Others may be interested in visiting significant locations, perhaps where films have been shot or where historical events took place. Music and food may also appear high on the list of priorities, but the overall intention is simply pleasure, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve worked hard, so we deserve it.
I’m sure many of us desire a little adventure, a journey into unknown territory. There are all sorts of expeditions available nowadays, whether walking, cycling or by water, exploring routes that are centuries old or even creating your own. These may require more effort than lazing by the pool, but the satisfaction on reaching our destination will also be greater.
Some of us may even want to go on a working holiday, where people pay to go and take part in environmental and conservation projects, planting trees, digging wells, building walls, supporting people and saving wildlife. The whole family can be involved in locations across the world.
- There are several possible approaches to using the six weeks that lie ahead: relaxing and playing, pushing our personal boundaries and serving others. If you’re taking part in holidays like that, I hope you really enjoy them. If we’re honest, though, parts of the next six weeks are likely to drag a bit, especially by the time we reach the last couple of weeks. Even if we go away, however exotic the holiday, it will consume only part of the time, and some of us will be at home for the whole period. So, let’s be constructive.
Time for reflection
Jesus encouraged his followers to look at the resources they had and to use them wisely. These resources included money, but also their talents and abilities. Jesus observed that resources could be used selfishly or hidden away, or invested for the benefit of everyone. We have a large resource in front of us: the resource of time. Let’s explore ways in which we can invest our six weeks of summer holiday.
First, it’s right for us to invest in ourselves for part of the holiday, particularly if we’ve worked really hard this school year (I’ll leave you to be the judge of that!). Enjoy your time on the beach, in the pool or dancing the night away. If you can’t get away, make the most of enjoying yourself here.
Optional: mention some local festivals and events that are due to take place.
Relaxation - ‘you’ time - is important for the balance of your life.
Second, why not take yourself off on a mini-adventure? There’s a wonderful book by Alastair Humphreys called Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes. The book provides simple, inexpensive ways to create unusual experiences. For example, you could spend a night sleeping under the stars even if it’s just in your garden. Alternatively, you could put together a walk to some significant location. It need only be ten miles away, but search for a route that stays off the roads. Arrange to sleep at friends’ houses on the way. Borrow a canoe or a bike. The object is to push the boundaries a little, even on a local basis.
Let’s watch a video by Alastair Humphreys that describes the idea of microadventures.
Show the YouTube video ‘ViewRanger #microadventure with Alastair Humphreys’.
Finally, use some time for the benefit of others. There are many opportunities to volunteer in our locality, whether it is for a charity, an organization or a place. Don’t be put off by being young: your youth is the unique resource that you have to offer. You see the world slightly differently to older people. You have enthusiasm, energy and optimism. These can easily get worn down as people get older. So, offer what you have.
If you can’t find an organized opportunity, create one for yourself. You will probably have an idea of people on your street who could do with some support. Maybe they’re lonely, elderly, needing help with young children or simply new to the area. Could you help any of these people in any way?
Thank you for the time at our disposal during the long summer holiday.
Remind us of the opportunities that it offers.
Give us the imagination and courage to do something different.
‘Here comes the sun’ by the Beatles. A version (3.13 minutes long) is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgiQD56eWDk
‘Summer holiday’ by Cliff Richard and The Shadows. A version (2.17 minutes long) is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbNP5yqg7hc