Spring Forward is a programme for First Years stretching from the end of April to June. The name reflects the time of year and because it is a springboard for First Year students to prepare for the next academic year.
Spring Forward, which includes House Events, Camp, Service Project Week and an Activity Finale, enables students to reflect on their year and to project forward and plan for next term with confidence and a renewed sense of excitement for what lies ahead. The students embrace these new activities with energy and enthusiasm, even when they are down to what they think are their last reserves. Resilience is built at UWC Atlantic!
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spring Forward in 2020 did not take place as students had to return home. In 2021, it will look slightly different from a usual year but we will still make it as meaningful as any other year and we are excited to share the programme with you later in 2021.
2019 Spring Forward Programme
As part of our Spring Forward Programme, staff and students across the whole College took part in projects and activities with their housemates, most of which was conducted in glorious sunshine!
As just one example, Whitaker House focused on creating and building sustainable garden furniture, which will take pride of place on the new patio built by Building Service students. The hard work of the 'furniture making and painting team' was rewarded by sitting in the glorious sunshine and eating fresh scones, also made by Whitaker students. Great teamwork!
Towards the end of Spring Forward, our First Years venture out into the wilds of Wales for a reflective and transformational experience that helps them to come to terms with living without the exiting Second Years - as they themselves will soon become Second Year students. On what is usually a drizzly Welsh Sunday afternoon, they,bound up the steps of one of four coaches, simply labelled 1,2,3 or 4 and head off into the countryside, not knowing where they are going or what really to expect. A bit like life really.
The aim of the camp is also to get back to basics in true Kurt Hahn fashion (so no mobile phones!) Each student shares a small tent with just three others, with a sleeping bag and a roll mat for warmth and insulation. Food is basic and cooked in two pots containing no additives, flavourings or luxury extras. This is all part of the experience.
Discovering and exploring some of the most beautiful landscapes in Wales, the main activity of the camp is usually a long hike on the Monday, each camp using the natural surroundings to their full advantage: Gower camp along the stunning coast path and beaches; Crickhowell and Dan Yr Ogof in the Brecon Beacons and the Wye Valley with its stunning forestry and rocky promontories of Symonds Yat and Yat Rock.
Day 2 at each camp is different, depending once again on the natural location but this is what makes each camp unique and special. Activities range from canoeing and mountain biking, hiking and caving to treasure hunts, bushcraft and sea swimming.
“Our home away from home. In another place. Another country. Another continent. Freezing inside a sleeping bag but nevertheless appreciating what nature has to give us, we prepare ourselves for what adventures and challenges next year is going to bring. Living off porridge, frozen chilli, lots (and lots) of rice, we realise how lucky we are.
How fortunate we are to live and study in a College where over 90 nationalities are represented, where we are free to be whoever and whatever we want to be and where there is no space or time to stay in our comfort zone.
"A place where we are encouraged and have the possibility to change ourselves, the people around us and the world. During these two days, we reflect on what the year has meant, how it has impacted each and every single one of us, how we want to be as a new year group, and what example we want to set as role models for the upcoming IB1s, who will arrive in September”
Service Project Week is a service orientated afternoon programme for the 1st years. It serves as a taster for those students who want to try out something different in the service area with a view to joining this service session the following year. It also gives an opportunity for potential new services to be trialled. If the service project is popular, it can become part of the core services offered the following year. Students at Picton Court Residential Home:
Students during ALP, where UWC Atlantic students lead sessions for school children who visit the College try out different outdoor activities:
Students during Beach Clean Up:
Students learning about Lifeguard Training:
Students taking part in #loveyourbackgarden project:
Students during Tai Chi: Students helping in the Valley:
In 2019, during Service Project Week, UWC Atlantic hosted a very successful inaugural Alumni Project Week. A group of alumni from multiple UWC colleges met in June at the College and it was a huge success. Participants took part in various activities with the students. From gardening to talking about how journalism in a war-like environment may change your perception of what is right and what is wrong.
In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we ran a very successful online Alumni Project Week. The week took the format of a series of online engagement opportunities where students and alumni engaged in different topics. Alumni expertise and inputs were notably sought within and around the areas of: horticulture, permaculture, landscape design, digital facilitation, food production, place-based learning and innovative education, history, journalism, arts and visualisation techniques, user experience design, conservation/storytelling, renewable energy, as well as business planning.
As part of the online Alumni Project Week, a group of current UWC Atlantic History students worked with a number of alumni to produce six short films - from the 1960s to 2010s - celebrating the College and its impact during and since the decade when the alumni were themselves UWC students. Through the testimonies of our alumni, the aim was to hear and portray the impact the College had on generations of students, and the impact it continues to have on their lives now. You can watch the films below.
Our academic programme continues during the Spring Forward period with the emphasis on coursework preparation to ease the workload prior to the second year.
Field trips and engagement activities take place during these weeks in a number of subjects. We also have 2 full days for Extended Essay work when students spend those days with their supervisor (the average EE supervisor: student ratio is 1:6). These days have helped greatly with the research, planning and even the writing of the essay. Although the first draft of the essay is only due at the end of the summer holiday, the period provides the much-needed 'springboard' to help with this major IB task.