Community Service/ Kids Out 2016

We took 34 Kids to enjoy a day out at Tropical Wings Zoo in South Woodham Ferrers

So well behaved!
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A Tropical Day Out!

Rotary Club of Billericay took a party of 34 children accompanied by 11 Teachers and Carers to the Tropical Wings Zoo at South Woodham Ferrers as part of “KidsOut Day”.

We traditionally take younger pupils from the Thriftwood School for disadvantaged children on such an outing each year, and this year, KidsOut Day fell on June 8.

Rotary KidsOut Day is a national collaboration between the Kids Out charity and Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (Rotary GB&I) to provide children with an experience that brings both fun and happiness into their lives. A Day Out could be as simple as visiting the seaside, zoo or theme park butfor the children who attend, this is often a once in a lifetime experience.

We were part of a day in which more than 100 venues and 10,000 Rotary volunteers made the Day Out the success that it is.  The first Rotary KidsOut Day Out took place in 1990 and since then up to 25,000 disadvantaged children have been taken on a fun day out every year. 

The Kids arrived on time, and we were swiftly inside the Zoo where we broke up into separate parties, each accompanied by a Rotary club member.  The sun shone brilliantly, the animals and birds were active and noisy, the butterflies brilliant, the meerkats funny as they rushed to and fro in their enclosure, and the children had great fun touching some smaller specimens such as a cockroach and an African snail, but drew the line at a millipede and a stick insect.  And the rain kept off until we were all safely in vehicles on our way home – we were so lucky!

It was great to see the kids in their smart KidsOut T-shirts with the smiley face logo and their blue caps (all specially designed by Rotary for the event). A superb bunch of excited, well-behaved and happy kids – it was a delight to be with them.

The eleven staff and carers did the hard work, shepherding and controlling the groups of kids as we wandered through the grounds – and this with three other coach loads of children from other schools, all wanting to see the same things. They do an amazing job.

We were all impressed with the Tropical Wings organisation.  A meet and greet staff member on every coach on arrival to explain everything (something that we did not encounter at previous venues), great help with any queries and easy access to toilets and hand-washing, essential since, like all children, the Thriftwood pupils were anxious to stroke as many animals and birds as they could.  This year our picnic lunch was outside and the area was a bit cramped but tyeh children didn’t seem to notice.

Laura Bazley, leader of the school teachers and carers, thanked us all personally and subsequently wrote to say. “Thank you so much, Trevor and the Rotary Club, for today.  Weren't we lucky with the weather!  I am sure we will be in contact in the Autumn term to confirm a date for next year.”

Our thanks to Phillips coaches for their excellent delivery and return (an email has been sent to them) and to Tina and her staff at "Enjoy ... Cakes ~ Cafe" in Billericay High Street, for supplying such a magnificent picnic at low cost.   Thanks also to Burstead Farm Shop for the donation of the fruit.  Tropical Wings have been thanked for their excellent support.

Most popular item at the zoo?  Not the animals. Not the Birds.  It was the adventure playground and the “Diggers”!