Kids Out Day
KidsOut is the only UK charity dedicated to bringing fun and happiness into the lives of disadvantaged kids by positive activities and experiences that contribute to their development, well-being and outlook for a happier more inclusive future.
Kids Out Day is an event carried out by a large number of the Rotary Clubs throughout UK and Ireland on the same day – taking kids with learning or physical difficulties to some fun place for the day. From a small beginning in 1990 when Kingston Rotary Club organised a day out at Thorpe Park for 200 disabled and disadvantaged children, this enterprise has now grown into a nationwide Rotary activity which in 2012 saw 25,000 children attending venues all over the UK.
We have been participating in this day out for 7 years and have taken the pupils of Mitchell House School out for the day to the Portaferry Aquarium, Castle Espie, the Zoo and Streamvale Open Farm, Dundonald and the Ulster Museum.
Kids Out Day 2018
This year’s Kids Out Day was held at the Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) Tuesday 12 June with 11 pupils and accompanying teachers from Mitchell House School; unfortunately some pupils had succumbed to a sickness bug and were unable to attend. Most of the children were wheel chair confined and a lovely time was had by all.
They were warmly greeted on arrival at 10.30am by Nicola and James two excellent BAC instructors, Past President Ken Morrison, John McCleery and William Cross. President Rosemary and Eric Rainey came later in the morning.
The fun started with a couple of group warm up games, including swapping places with each other under a parachute, which were greatly enjoyed. Next there was an archery competition and with a bit of expert tuition, all the children managed to release the arrow from the bow, with a couple of them even getting close to the bullseye! The noise level increased somewhat when the teachers had a go, showing that inter-form rivalry is still alive and well!
After lunch, the children were entertained to a session of geocaching around the Barnet demesne - a mix of orienteering come treasure hunt, the aim of which is, with the aid of a hand held device which has a compass, to locate a small wooden box which contains a little gift - this gave the children much delight.
The location, weather and programme all contributed to a super summer outing, and big thanks are extended to Nicola and James for making the day such a success. Thanks are extended to President Rosemary and the other Club members for attending.
- As with previous years, the W5 Science and Discovery Centre at the Odyssey Complex was the venue for 25 children from Mitchell House Special School on 9 June 2017 which was which was a great hit with the children (and the adults!).
It proved to be a special and thoroughly enjoyable morning for all, which was followed by a delicious pizza lunch at Pizza Hut next door. The children were as usual fantastic, very well behaved, polite and appreciative. The Club have received the children's hand made thank you card from the school.
- The Club again organised a visit to the W5 Science and Discovery Centre at the Odyssey Complex on Monday, 13 June 2016, for this year’s Kids Out Day for Mitchell House Special School. As 75% of the children were in wheelchairs or required special walking aids to get about a unique, specially adapted bus was hired from Translink to transport the 26 children and 8 adults from the school. Having left at 10.00am they were met at W5 by President Ronnie and Elma, Past Presidents Brian Clements and Brian Ferguson and Rotarians Mark Davidson and John McCleery.W5 is Ireland's award winning Science and Discovery Centre with over 250 interactive exhibits based on the themes of Discovery, Go, See and Do and the children spent a long time in the Discovery area the hands on interactive exhibition where the children can learn about themselves and the world about them by painting on a digital canvas in the Art Studio, playing animal sounds in the farmyard, going shopping in a mock-up shop, using the crane to build in the construction area and, in the Donnelly Group garage, building a soft play Formula 1 car or climbing into the brand new Fiat 500 which has all the sounds and switches of a real car. Another great hit with the children (and the adults!) was the Encounter with Dinosaurs exhibit with its amazing new Augmented Reality technology which superimposes computer generated images onto our view of the real world. The children can watch themselves on a big screen as they get close and personal with a T Rex, are approached by a pack of curious Raptors or try not to be trampled by a passing Diplodocus. A couple of hours flew by and all set out to Pizza Hut for a well deserved lunch of pizzas, chicken nuggets and drinks.
The children were wonderful, very well behaved, polite and appreciative and the outing was very much appreciated by them and the staff. The Club subsequently received a thank you card from the school with a photo and all the children's names.Thanks are due to all the Rotarians who attended the day out and for making it the great success it was.
- On June the 3rd 2015 we organised a Kids Out Day for 20 children and 8 helpers from Mitchell House School. Six Club members President Ronnie McLean, IPP Ken Morrison, PPs Brian Ferguson and Brian Clements, John McCleery and Mark Davidson met the Mitchell House party at W5 at the Odyssey Arena, the Club having hired a specially adapted Ulsterbus to transport the party to and from W5.
Inside W5 the first stop was a workshop on "forces" where the children, in a practical way, were shown how forces such as push and pull and gravity can affect movement. They really enjoyed the experience even getting to build their own rocket! Next on the agenda was an exploration of the Discovery Play area where the children could interact with a large number of exhibits including water, lasers, construction, shops and even a Fiat 500 car with no doors but with all the other bits working - this was a real hit not only with the children but also the adults those who could actually get into the car!!
After a very enjoyable visit to W5 the whole party moved on to Pizza Express in the Odyssey Plaza where a buffet Pizza lunch was enjoyed by all. The group bade their farewells and headed back to school.It was a wonderful experience to see this amazing group of young children so quick witted and full of fun, interacting so well. All really enjoyed it and found it really rewarding. We received a lovely card of thanks later from the children thanking the Club for organising a most enjoyable day out. We were able to assure them the pleasure was all ours!
The Club thanks Mark Davidson who was instrumental in the organisation and all those members who accompanied the kids to W5 or otherwise helped to make it the success it was.
For this year's Kid's Out day the Club took the children from class 4 to the Ulster Museum. They made a delightful thank you card.
- On 16 June 2011, the Club took the Mitchell House Special School children to Streamvale Open Farm at Dundonald. The party of Rotarian volunteers met the 13 children and 7 helpers in Streamvale car park at 10.15am, in glorious sunshine. After feeding the hens, spotting the elusive rabbits and stroking the baby chicks, we made our way to the barn for feeding time. Each of the children got to hold the bottle while the lambs enjoyed their feed. We managed to avoid the heavy, brief rain shower during this time.After a play on the toy tractors and diggers, we all made our way to the BBQ area. President Brian, with his customary control, fed all 30 of us with a total lack of fuss. The children were delighted with the day, and their group leader, Nuala Hughes was effusive in her praise of all the Rotarians who assisted. A great ‘Day Out’ was had by all.
Our thanks go to organiser Rotarian Mark Davidson and all the Rotarians who helped i.e. PP Brian Ferguson, John Williamson, Ken Morrison, President Brian, PP Albert Baird, PP Courtenay Thompson and John McCleery.
- We continued our association with Mitchell House Special School, and 10 Rotarians brought 23 children to Belfast Zoo, of which 16 were in wheelchairs with ages ranging from 4 to 11. There were 10 Rotarians including myself also my wife, representing Inner Wheel.We got the buses to take us all up to the top of the Zoo grounds as it would be near impossible to push the wheelchairs up – it’s extremely steep. First thing was a refreshment stop at the outside tables at the top with fantastic views – what great weather after 2 days of rain.
We first saw the lions as we started the downhill trip, hanging on desperately to the wheelchairs. Then we saw a tiger, chimpanzees, then onto the penguins, seals, peacocks, etc. We got down for lunch at 12.15 and had sausages, chicken or beef burgers and chips plus food for the Mitchell House staff in time for the first bus home at 1 pm. The younger ages had to be back earlier that the rest.
The older children were then given a fascinating talk provided by the Zoo. This also included showing us a tarantula, python and other snakes and various other animals and insects. Finally we reloaded all the children and teachers back on the remaining buses and waved goodbye. They all appeared to have had a really good time and gave us great waves as they left on the buses. My thanks as usual go to all the helpers and the Mitchell House staff who are fantastic with the children.
- The Club brought 17 children to Castle Espie, of which almost 10 were in wheelchairs. We were accompanied by 6 staff and 8 or 9 Rotarians and some wives. Everyone including teachers and helpers had Kids Out Day caps. We were extremely lucky that the weather was excellent especially as it was one of the few last summer. After arriving at Castle Espie, we started with a group photo and then had an al fresco drinks and snacks session around the barbecue area. After an introductory talk by our host, we went out to feed the ducks. This was very popular and lasted quite a while – in fact the ducks got so full that they stopped taking any more food thrown to them! There was some concern that in the excitement, someone would fall into the duck pond.
We had a tour around the rest of the site and saw many woodland species and then the extensive expansion work which was still ongoing. We went back to the splendid new building and had lunch in the café. Finally we had another surprise for the children – Magic George. Even though some of the kids had seen him before, it didn’t seem to take away from the complete surprise of each of his funny tricks. The laughter all round was great to hear and the kids laughed too! We then got them all back into the busses and said goodbye to teachers and kids.They all seemed to have really enjoyed the day and many thanks are given to all the Rotarians for their support.
- The Club took part in Kids Out Day for the first time and brought 14 children to Exploris, the aquarium at Portaferry. Everyone including teachers and helpers had Kids Out Day T-shirts and caps. The kids were shown all sorts of fish and at the touching tank could even pick them up briefly. At the end they were given a super comedy/conjuring show by Magic George which was a great success – even more so by the Rotary helpers who came along (many thanks to them and also the 3 Rotaracts who were a great help).