Jo’s blog Salamander day 5

So here we are on day 5….Friday….the last day, I really find this day the hardest to write every year. You would think after 5 years of doing the course (I didn’t do the first year) that I could roll off the blog and say what a wonderful week we have had. But Friday means I won’t be writing tomorrow and I won’t see all those wonderful smiling faces, be able to cheer when someone has achieved something for the first time and most of all I won’t be with the amazing bunch of young people and friends I have made.

Friday is hard!

So where to start, I will start with saying thank you.

Thank you to Shelia who makes the most wonderful breakfast and dinner for us all week. You at home don’t get to see her as she is always up in the kitchen but the week couldn’t happen without vast amounts of great food, so thank you for cooking especially as they seemed to consume so much this year, but it’s always there ready for us on time.

Thank you to our wonderful carers, Katie, Ben & David. It’s not easy to come in on a course like ours, but you have excelled and shown our young people how to be independent, whilst letting them think you are doing it for them! You have listened to what they say and helped where you can, guiding them into doing the correct thing. You have been there to reassure when things go wrong, and praise where needed.

Thank you to our PCSO ‘s Tom, Alex and Cassey. What a great team, you have been brilliant with our young people. Cassey I think you deserve a medal, never giving up and being there when needed. Staying calm when pushed to the limits, and always smiling. Tom your ability to be patient is amazing. Getting down and talking through things that have not gone to plan and staying calm when most of us have given up. Reassuring the most afraid of young people and getting them through what they thought they couldn’t do. Alex for being there whenever needed, guiding them through the activities ensuring they are in the correct place when they are beginning to wonder off!  You have been truly great.

Cory, well Cory you know I love you to bit’s. I now see an amazing young man who has put everything into achieving all he wants to and has. This is Cory’s 5th year and is now part of Salamander life. The young people are at ease with you and you carry out any instruction without any fuss. I wish you all the luck with your new apprenticeship and I know you will do well.

Phil and Abi, it is so good to have you both this year. You two are the best making First Aid so much fun.  Phil I am going to miss the daily selfies and I know Oliver will miss them as well. I have stayed strong this week but today, (even though I had already read it a few times) you brought a tear to my eye. Your speech sums it all up and they all love you and respect you. Abi thank you for being so supportive at all times (even with a cold). I know the teams love the first aid you teach as it comes with fun and laughs. The bandaging sessions were just the best. I really hope you can come back next year as you are both brilliant.

To all the Fire Fighters that have been with us this week, James, Gareth, Dave, Greg and Paul (there must be more sorry if I haven’t mentioned you) I admire you all and have great respect for your ability to get our young people to do things that we as parents spend years trying to get them to do. Though I say that but to be honest I don’t mean getting them to cut up car’s, climb ladders, crawl through tunnels, abseil, feel their way round a smoke filled house, swim in lakes, dive into lakes!! I mean take instruction without arguing, be independent and make decisions, take control of their own actions, work as a team, help others when it is needed. You have achieved all these things and so much more. Our young people respect you all and so I take my hat off to you all and say thank you for making dreams come true for these young people.

Steve, the third year you have had Oliver and you still keep coming back!! Thank you! You always make sure your team members have a go at everything and no one misses out. For keeping them all focused and staying calm when they wonder off and suddenly you’re down to half a team. Oliver thinks the world of you even when wondering off!

Sean, it was great to see you again this year. You are so good with your team, calm but in control. You always praise them for achieving all they do and this has built confidence in the team. Sean you have a way of staying calm even at the point of crisis! Thank you

Lee, well I have missed you over the last couple of years, you do make me laugh!! What can I say? You have a way with words! Your team really respects you and your guidance around the smoke house makes even the most nervous feel safe. Thank you for your calmness at the top of the tower for us nervous people, you know how to make people feel safe….you know the words you say calmed me down…..not! But I know I can trust you.

Nev, I was so pleased to see you back this year. You were instantly loved by your team and you got them to achieve so much. You are kind and caring and ensuring all achieve what they are doing to their full ability. Your team had great respect for you and you help them achieve things that they may not have done without that little bit of encouragement.

Fraser, Salamander isn’t Salamander without Fraser and his humor. You can get your team to do anything and your ability to push them one step further is brilliant.  You never know where Fraser will be with his camera and which gadget is going to be used today. You produce the best videos ever and I think we have had some moments this year that will bring new video clips on movie night. You are great Fraser so thank you for pushing our young people to new limits knowing how far to go and praising them when they achieve it.

Mark, my biggest respect goes to you, you have a way of bringing out the best in all, not only our young people but your instructors and the carers, Police and Ambulance, and they all respect you so much. Thank you for everything you do and thank you for helping them achieve great things. I know the parents out there are amazed at how much their child has accomplished and that’s down to your dedication to Salamander.

And to my best friend Nicky who gets me through this week and keeps me on track. You are calm and you always know what to do, and what is the correct way of dealing with the most challenging of situations. You believe whole heartedly in everything you do for Salamander, you know these young people can achieve and you give them the chance to do it. Thank you for being at my side all week and making me laugh when standing on the bench (I’m now going away to work on the biceps) Thank you for making Salamander the best week for all our young people.

So now I say good night as I am finding this hard, I just can’t cope with Friday’s. I hope you are all as proud as I am of all the things your young person has achieved, you wouldn’t believe what they can do, but by today I can and I am so proud to be part of it. Thank you for letting me take your child and have the best week. I can’t wait to catch up with you all in a few weeks when Fraser has done his magic with all the thousands of pictures and see you all at Movie night.

Thank you and Night night x