Keith Ovenden explains why The Beacon Activity Centre merited the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) Gold Standard Award
This article was published in the May to August 2020 issue of Rapport magazine.
We are delighted to report that we have recently gained the Learning Outside the Classroom (LOTC) Gold Standard Award. This has been the culmination of a lot of hard work over the course of the last two years, as The Beacon has taken on a new lease of life and a new direction in youth and children’s work.
Gold Standard Award
LOTC is the use of places other than the classroom for teaching and learning. It is about getting children and young people out and about, providing them with challenging, exciting and different experiences to help them learn. It’s a tool for teaching and learning which has been proven to raise attainment and achievement, to improve behaviour and the engagement of all groups of pupils – including those who find the classroom environment difficult.
The Gold Standard Award acknowledges the commitment to maintaining the highest standards of Client and Student engagement, Learning and Development activity delivery, Customer Care, Health and Safety Management of Activities, Leadership and Management, Compliance and Insurance, and Continuous Improvement. This is achieved in The Beacon through teamwork, with each member of the Team using their strengths and gifts, to work towards a common purpose.
Dovetailing activities with the school curriculum
Sarah Buchan (Beacon Schools Coordinator) has developed our engagement with schools, working with them to design their programme to meet their objectives, tying in our activities with their curriculum and then, after the programme, seeking feedback that we use to fine-tune our offering and improve the standard of our service.
A key part of the ministry at The Beacon is our morning THINK times, which provide a thought from the Bible that then runs through the day as the Beacon instructors encourage reflective learning at the end of an activity. An example would be after hearing about Peter stepping out of the boat to walk towards Jesus on the water, we encourage young people to try new challenges and ‘step out’ in confidence because Jesus is with them.
The Beacon Activity Centre’s mission is to provide young people with a Life of Discovery of themselves, each other and God, and central to our ethos is our prayer life as a Team and as individuals. We all aim to model Christ in the way we conduct ourselves, interact and engage with our groups and work with individuals. The seeds that are sown during conversation whilst on activities, surrounded by God’s creation, can never be underestimated and many young people have left The Beacon with a new understanding of themselves and a real understanding of how a life centred around God can be transformational.
During 2019 over 900 young people from our school groups passed through The Beacon, as well as youth groups and other relational weekend groups, representing a significant number of people who have experienced God working in their lives whilst being immersed in His glorious creation.
Developing new activities
There are significant projects launching with the development of new flagship activities including an updated zip wire and a new high ropes course which will help expand our ministry and will also ensure that we remain environmentally sustainable. We are grateful for the prayerful and financial support from Lee Abbey Friends, as we continue to develop the ministry and mission of this ‘thin’ place.
For more information on how to support the various Lee Abbey Devon projects, please get in touch with our Head of Business, Grant Forrest: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are ever thankful for all that God does in the lives of the many people who come to The Beacon and Lee Abbey Devon.
Activities Manager, Beacon Team