We’re clinging on for dear life as we bounce across the choppy waters of Cardiff Bay. There are lifejackets but no seat belts, just metal safety bars and the cardinal rule is ‘don’t let go!’
The Celtic Ranger, a rigid inflatable boat (RIB) is a mean machine with twin Mercury outboard motors propelling us through the waves at breathtaking speed. Our captain pulls some nifty manoeuvres, banking and circling in tight turns to bounce through our own wake. He aims the RIB at the shore and opens the throttle, full speed ahead and only turns at the last moment. It’s a nautical rollercoaster and we can’t help whooping and laughing with the sheer exhilaration of it all. One thing’s for sure: We’re not thinking about work!
So what are we doing on this high octane speedboat jaunt around the iconic Cardiff Bay?
This is the brainchild of the Emotional Wellbeing Service manager Sandra who identified the need to improve communication and resilience in the team. A list of possible activities was drawn up and we voted overwhelmingly for the speedboat, so after a morning of communication exercises and making towers from spaghetti and marshmallows, we headed for the Bay.
The Emotional Wellbeing Service provides an early intervention service to children and young people between the ages of 10 and 18 who present displaying risk taking behaviours. We provide a package of care to address the issues contributing to young people’s mental health and wellbeing issues. The work is fast paced, with a high volume of referrals and there is little down time
It can be immensely rewarding and I’m proud to be part of such a dedicated, forward thinking team doing such an important job. That’s the upside, but of course we are exposed to a lot of negativity too, after all these are young people experiencing emotional problems- and we can find ourselves taking on that load.
We have all faced that awful situation of listening to a young person break down, of trying to calm them, giving them crisis information and phone numbers. At times we’ve gone home filled with worry and nagging doubt. Will they be OK? Did we say the right thing?
During our 1-1 sessions and group work we often advise young people to get outdoors, exercise and relax, but how often do we take our own advice?
If we don’t pay attention to our own wellbeing it can become a case of ‘do as I say not as I do’. If we forget how to play and have fun, how can we describe what it means to enjoy life?
One thing we all agree on? – It’s pretty hard to feel down when you’re flying through the waves!