For one day, the giveaturn.org team, in partnership with the association Les Chiens de Traineau du Bois Richard, has conducted its first action to support children in need.
The objective of this action was to work on the inclusion of children with disabilities.
On September 29, 2022, at the Andelys, close to the Château Gaillard, a class of 1st and 2nd graders from the school Guiseniers (27) and around twenty children from the Institut Médico Educatif d'Ecouis (27) gathered for a medieval quest: A real-life RPG on theme of knights that included all children and was adapted to their capabilities. (In France, the Institut Médico Educatif is a social and medical institute aimed at children and teenagers who suffer from mental disabilities.)
Early in the morning, 40 kids arrived at the Bois Richard for a full day adventure. After a briefing on their quest, all children had to pass through the “corridor of time” and ended up in knight costumes, ready to save the kingdom of Richard Coeur de Lion (Richard the Lionheart) from the perfidious Jean sans Terre (King John of England, or John “Lackland”).
We broke up the kids into six teams. Our members, along with the children’s teachers and educators, guided the kids through five challenges during the day. Each group earned “magic runes” by completing the following challenges:
In addition to the giveaturn.org team, we were honored by the presence of two templars from the medieval association 1412. These historical interpreters provided a lot of anecdotes about the templar order, historical background, and fun for everyone involved.
Having successfully completed the challenges, all teams gathered in front of the beautiful Château Gaillard, the historical landmark of the region. All the runes they gathered allowed them to arm their champion with whom they went on a heroic charge to unlock a treasure hidden close by. They found the treasure which happened to be a huge sack of snacks.
Combining kids with or without disabilities has been a great experience.
After a few minutes in costumes and being immersed in the adventure, the differences between all the kids vanished. We think this might have been because everyone on the team was dressed in the same way and shared the same objectives.
For children with mental or physical issues, we’ve witnessed how such a day can have a positive impact on them. We were gratified by smiles, bursts of joy, curiosity, friendships and many more spontaneous reactions. In fact we heard back from parents and educators about the positive results.
While this won’t solve the difficulties of our children who have disabilities, we did our best to offer them a unique moment. And the kids gave us back more, as we had a great time and learned a lot. This was a rewarding experience for our first ever action. We are already looking forward to organizing more actions and continuing our mission.