Volunteering: Introducing the (excited!) Monitor class of 2015!

With summer just around the corner, we caught up with the newly trained Monitor cohort; 25 fresh-faced excited new Monitors, all working with us for the first time this summer. We wanted to know about their experience of the training course and how they feel as the newest members of the ATE family.
“Firstly I just want to say a big thank you to all the staff at the training course. I said to somebody the other day that ATE did a lot for me as a child but you probably managed just as much if not more in the last week than in four years of Superweeks.”

“As an ATE kid I learnt to expect the unexpected so I didn’t have any expectations for the training course. By the end of day two it felt like we’d known each other forever. Stepping away from the real world and into the ‘bubble’ that was made by the staff was really easy and it meant that there was no pressure, so you felt able to get involved without feeling like you would be judged. This meant that we were able to make the most of the course and feel confident and happy. Most of all, it was lots and lots of fun!”

“I didn’t realise how much I would actually learn, even though I’ve been on Superweeks before there is so much more to it than you would expect, the training is such an important part of ATE, it is a really rewarding experience because you know that after learning all of this, you are able to look after a child and become a monitor, which is a really important role on any Superweek. As soon as you arrive you are welcomed by such a lovely atmosphere, which is kept up through the week. You learn a lot of the things you need to know by doing them. Which is the best way to learn, so you play the games and solve the riddles so you know how to teach them to the children in the summer.  I learnt so much during the week, I have a book filled with notes that are going to help me on my first week and so many ‘gap fillers’ ready in my head for any moment I have spare to try out on my family and friends.
It helps you build countless skills on how to look after children and make sure they have the best Superweek ever and makes you understand how hard of a job it is. It’s made me realise I’m actually doing something so rewarding this summer after having been on the training course, it’s going to be my job to make one week of a group of children’s lives the best that I can, to make them have the most fun. And to me that is one of the most rewarding and incredible experiences ever.”

“I was so surprised by the training course – there were a lot of things to learn about looking after a group of kids that I hadn’t even considered! I think it was so helpful that we talked through most of the scenarios that you could find yourself in as a Monitor, so I feel confident that I can handle anything thrown at me in the summer.
Even with the serious stuff the course was one of the most fun weeks I’ve ever spent. Before I arrived I was worried about having no one to talk to but everyone was so friendly and my group was amazing. There was such a feeling of community after just a couple of days, and I genuinely miss everyone so much.”

“The ATE training course was a really safe and welcoming environment to learn all about the organisation and how to be a great monitor, as well as learning about working with children.
ATE is all about joining in and being yourself, and I promise to anyone who does the training course that they will not feel judged, embarrassed or alone. The great thing about ATE is that there are lots of very confident, outgoing people who can really have an inspiring effect on people who are feel less confident or shy. For me, ATE (mostly as an ex-child) has given me so much more confidence in other aspects of my life and it will be wonderful to see ATE have the same effect on other children.


The ATE training course was miles out of my comfort zone, and so will becoming a monitor. But I am sure that it will have a very positive effect on my confidence and ability to work in anything I embark on in the future – especially working with children, or just different types of people and personalities in general. To anyone who is worried about the course – it is certainly big and scary at first. However, the achievement you will feel for jumping into the unknown will certainly be worth it. For me, being able to perform in front of an audience and speak publicly were huge challenges for me. But to be able to partially overcome these fears in a safe and kind environment was really helpful…(and scary!)


In terms of what I was worried about…(one of many things) ..but what people may relate to is that I thought as a young and rather in-experienced person I may be looked down on or be questioned for my ability to do the job. But I realised being a good monitor is mostly about hard work, your attitude and your personality. Don’t think you need to be an experienced teacher or a youth group leader of whatever. No matter what experience and skills people already have, it will be a new experience for everyone and you will all discover it together and help each other through.”


“The Superweek training course has been the single biggest pleasant surprise that I’ve had in years. I approached the course with apprehension, thinking it would be a week of health and safety coupled with rigid memorisation of rules. However this could not have been further from the truth. The training is extremely interactive and action packed, leading you to engage with the subject of looking after children more passionately than you could have imagined. Discussion groups in between a variety of indoor and outdoor fun encourage you to analyse the smallest of details relevant to caring for your potential group of children, a process that quickly becomes second nature. By the end of the week, more than having had rules drilled into us, every person on the course had begun to think like a monitor, letting us approach any situation with the wisdom to address it.
The things that worried me the most prior to the training were having to give money to attend the course, and giving up a week of my precious time for what felt like not much of a reason. Retrospectively I would’ve paid more than double what I did for the privilege of attending, the money not only covers your food and bedding but also a dedicated team of instructors working hard almost 24/7 to make your experience a good one. Far from wasting time, the week has been easily one of my best spent in living memory. In the unlikely event you decide Superweeks isn’t for you, you’ve had at minimum a fantastic and unique holiday with 30 or so other likeminded, enthusiastic and fun people. I’ve made friends on the training course that I want to keep for life. If nothing else shows the power of the training week its the feeling of absolute loneliness and desolation I felt when leaving it. It’s not an easy task to explain why you should go on this week, but I promise you, once you get there, you won’t want to leave.”

“Before I arrived on the Superweek training course I was really nervous because I didn’t know anyone going or anyone that had been previously. On the journey over I was quizzing my mum about ATE. I don’t know why I was asking her questions because she had no idea what I was going to do either but I had so many unanswered questions. The one thing that really bugged me was there was no timetable!!! When we drove down the drive to St Richards I started to feel a little more relaxed. I could see the ATE flag that was on the flag pole. As I got out of the car I was greeted by Katie. Katie automatically made me feel at home as she made me laugh and with her big smile I left my mum behind and walked into the building where I was greeted by all the over nervous trainees. We were nearly all in the same situation of not knowing anyone else and within minutes we all were talking and feeling as if we had known each other for years.
The course exceeded my expectations. I really wasn’t expecting the course to be as full on and as much fun as it was. Everyday was packed with games, learning new skills, singing amazing ATE songs plus so many more new activities. Everything that I learnt from ATE on the training course are skills that I will use whatever I do in life. It doesn’t need to be monitoring on a super week, the skills you learn on the weeks course are skills for life. The way they approach the lectures is amazing. It is a little like a college lecture but ten times better. The person leading the lecture makes sure we all enjoy it and everyone leaves the with a smile on your face.
When I returned home I told my parents that every 17 year old should go on a monitor training course! It was brilliant in every respect.”

“When I was first coming onto the course I was really nervous about meeting new people as I hadn’t experienced anything to do with ATE prior. All the instructors made the atmosphere so welcoming at the beginning and we all gelled straight away which the start of the week a great introduction for what was to come. The whole week was incredible. I learnt so many things, not just games and songs but also a lot about myself. It was great as we experienced some of what the children would experience on a Superweek making it practical and engaging! I’m now really excited to pass on some of these experiences that I had whilst on the course to the children in summer 2015.”
“When I signed up for the course, I assumed it would be mostly lectures, especially on health and safety and safeguarding as it has been with most other courses I’ve attended. I was happily surprised that in addition to the lectures, which were more about the day-to-day monitor life which I found really helpful, we had plenty of time to not just learn about the games and songs but to take part in them!”

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