Jo’s Salamander Blog – Day 5 2016

Last day, I can’t believe its Friday and it’s all over for another year. I want to be happy and say so many positive things about this week, which I will, but it’s Friday and it’s all finished for another year. Thank you to you all for letting me be part of your young people’s lives for a week. They have brought so many smiles and laughter I won’t be able to mention them all. They are inspirational young people. Thank you.

What will be the things I will miss most next week? Ryan’s witty one liners, Lanes acting career, Callum holding the door open with a smile, so polite, Myles’s pole drop and Marcello’s enthusiasm for life.

Breakfast as usual this morning with everyone filling up knowing it’s the last cooked breakfast for the year. Thank you to Nicky & Denise for being there early so we can enjoy our full English. Next it’s down the pole for the last time. We won’t have time at dinner as it will be show time. Nearly everyone managed it and now they are extremely good at this and it’s all done quickly. Jamie has promised he will do it next year as the drop is still just a little too much for him.

Out in the yard everyone kits up and we get ready to practise the show. This is such fun with the Fire Trucks, Ambulances and Police Cars all at full blast around the yard. I’m such a big kid as I love this bit. The crews are now practising the show and we go over it a few times so all will go smoothly later!! You just know there will be ad- libs and extra funny bits added in and we never know what is going to happen. This is the fun of this day; as much as we practise some of these lovely young people are going to do their way!

I hope those of you that came today enjoyed the show. We are so very proud at what they have all achieved. We have seen maturity and confidence this week and it’s brilliant to watch them grow into the amazing young people they are.


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Now I must say thank you to the amazing team who work with the young people all week. Without these people the course would not happen. A fantastic team of great people.

First the Senior Crew: Ben, it was wonderful to see you back for another year. You treat all our young people as equals. You chat and have fun and you are a brilliant role model. The young people respect you and you are able to get them to carry out what you ask with ease. I really wish you luck in your future as I think you will be an amazing Fire Fighter. Good luck Ben.

Carlos, you have been brilliant. You have made me laugh so many times this week. The young people took to you from the start and you won their hearts. Your patience with helping is great and nothing is too much trouble. I do hope we will see you again.

George, you are just fantastic. You have been amazing with all the young people. Your help and kindness towards them has been noted. Nothing is ever too much trouble. Boot fitting, glove finding, retrieving young people when they start to wonder off. You have been a real asset to the course.

Ellie, you are such a lovely polite young lady that has worked her socks off this week looking after the young ladies on the course. You really did go down well and we loved you. Again nothing is too much trouble and you fitted in well with us all.

Thank you to our PCSO‘s Jules, well what can I say? Jules thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are always there to help; nothing is ever too much trouble. You don’t mind whatever it is we can ask, you will do. You always have a smile and I have loved having you back on the course.

Phil, brilliant, just brilliant! The young people loved you (sorry like)! I’m going to miss your name being bellowed across the dining room in the morning. You really have supported them all so well. You are always positive and encouraging towards the young people. Thank you.

To Abi & Phil who always bring fun to First Aid. Though Phil could only make a couple of days this year due to work commitments, he is always loved by the young people and his sense of fun on the lake at Coate Water is great and well captured on film! Abi, for all your help and support in this week. For being there when needed, to help out and keep the young people positive and on target. Your support is greatly appreciated on this course.

Now to the marvellous crew: Steve, you know who much respect I have for you for putting up with Oliver for another year. You never leave anyone out and always explain everything so everyone knows what they are doing at all times. You are so good with each young person. “Steve McDonald” thank you so much.

Liam, you have been great with the team, kind and caring and ensuring all achieve 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.

Sean, for your calming way with the team, for letting them try something new and praising them for it. You are firm but gentle with them and they respond to you well. You lead them into activities letting them think they are in charge but knowing you are in full control at all times. Salamander would not be the same without you.

Fraser, the best gadget man in the business. I can’t wait to see what you come up with this year in your DVD’s. You always make people smile and laugh even if it is for the fourth time so you get it spot on for the picture. Though you don’t have a team we know you are always there with a helping hand and the camera! So thanks for pulling Oliver out from behind the pipe and I hope it made a great shot!!

Nev, it was so good to see you back with us this year at the end of the week. You are so kind and patient with the young people. Thank you for letting me loose with the car cutters!! It takes a brave man to hand those over to a woman!

Maca, we welcome you to our Salamander week and really hope you will come back again. You have been great with the young people always listening and helping each person as they need it. You have given encouragement where needed and they have respected you for this. Thank you.

Nicky, you put so much work in behind the scenes and people don’t see you slaving over a hot stove so we can have great meals. You are there for me and the teams, so caring and thoughtful with the young people’s wellbeing at heart. Always ensuring they are achieving what they can with kind words of encouragement. You believe in each member and praise even the smallest achievement which means the world to them all. You know Nicky I couldn’t do this without you. I have so much respect for you.

And of course to the man who makes this whole thing come together so well Mr Mark Evans MBE (yes I know, so cool)!! We can never say thank you enough times. There is never a minute on the course that goes by without you helping and reassuring and praising. You are the most amazing person and the whole of the salamander 2016 team thanks you from the bottom of their hearts as you have made dreams come true.


Now I say goodnight to you all as I say a final thank you. This last week has been fantastic. Thank you to everyone for letting us be part of your young person’s life for one week. I hope they have enjoyed it as much as I have. They really do inspire me.

I raise my glass to them all and wish you good night.