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What a year!

KEEN sessions have now come to a close until October, after three fun-packed terms of sessions! Thank you to everybody who has made the year a success. Our annual review for 2013-14 is out – click the cover image below to begin reading.

Springing back into action

KEEN activities started again on 28th April. Our spring/summer term will be a fun-packed 8 weeks, especially with the famous KEEN treasure hunt (theme to be decided next week) in University Parks and the massive end-of-year celebration that is the KEEN Olympics!

I’d like to remind parents of athletes that some sessions have changed their day and time this week, with KEEN Teens running on Mondays 18:00-19:20 followed by GrEAT 19:40-21:30, and Zig-Zag running on Thursdays 17:15-18:15. Our new transport policy is also now in effect – for more information on this please refer to the letter you received from our chair of trustees dated 3rd March 2014, or to KEEN’s full policies document.

As AllSorts is now held outside, there is a risk that it may be affected by the weather. If your athlete goes to AllSorts, please check your e-mail and the front page of the KEEN website before travelling to New College Sports Ground each week!

I’m looking forward to a great term! Do get in touch with me at keen@keenoxford.org if you have any KEEN-related questions.

Dan

PS. If you’re looking for a reminder of everything we got up last term, why not check out this review?

Thanks to Tom Baker for running our KEEN+ golf session

 

Happy Easter!

KEEN sessions have now finished until after Easter. Sessions will begin again on Monday 28th April, and all parents/carers of athletes will receive a mailing detailing the schedule for the term a couple of weeks before.

As always, our winter/spring term was packed with fun events for athletes and volunteers alike. Here’s a summary of what we got up to:

AllSorts
Our sports session continues to be incredibly successful and we regularly see over 40 athletes each week! Our sports coordinator Will and his team of session leaders have had an incredibly inventive term, adapting all of the following sports: rounders, football, athletics, dancing, basketball, hockey, boccia, cricket, tennis, parachute games, tag rugby, ultimate frisbee, curling, volleyball and crazy golf.

 

Zig-Zag
This term KEEN’s creative workshop followed the theme of “Zig-Zag’s Greatest Hero”. A bewigged television presenter helped athletes explore the heroic acts that people from a range of professions could carry out: an astronaut, a farmer, a sports coach, a celebrity, a spy and a policeman. Then in the last week of term, we drew inspiration from these characters to show athletes that they too had the heroic skills of creativity, bravery, problem solving, observation and dancing prowess(!), making each and every one of them Zig-Zag’s Greatest Hero!

 

KEEN Teens
Our teenagers social club, KEEN Teens, is now five years old! We’ve had some brilliant sessions over the last term, including a uniquely-KEEN evening of movie making and a fantastic first aid session. A particular highlight was a visit by some members of Oxford University Magic Society who put on a show for athletes and taught them how to perform their own illusions!

 

GrEAT
GrEAT coordinators Callum and Tom planned eight fantastic weeks of activities for the 25+ members of our over-18s social club, some of whom have been coming to KEEN since 1988! The term began with a traditional pub quiz, with other notable sessions including an evening of colourful and explosive science experiments and a pilot for an over-18s sports session.

 

Daytrip

Saturday 8th March hosted our annual under-18s daytrip. This year we visited the exciting and interactive Thinktank Science Museum in Birmingham. Athletes had a great day running around from exhibit to exhibit, particularly enjoying a robot which could be programmed to say anything and the outdoors science garden, containing lots of water-based activities and opportunities for splashing! We also got to enjoy a special planetarium show “The Little Star That Could”, which was pitched at a perfect level for KEEN but taught everyone something about space. Athletes were thoroughly tired by the end, but we still managed to find energy for a sitting-down hokey cokey on the bus ride home! Thanks to Oxfordshire County Council for funding the daytrip.

 

Welcome to 2014!

After a very successful GrEAT pub quiz to kick off the year, KEEN’s usual sessions are starting up in the next week, and I’m looking forward to seeing the exciting activities that our inventive volunteers are planning this term. If you’re a parent of an athlete and haven’t received the termly mailout, please drop me an e-mail and let me know!

I just thought I’d mention some great ways of helping KEEN out in the new year:

  • Did you get any truly terrible Christmas presents? Why not convert them into money for yourself and KEEN, by listing them on eBay for Charity?! You can choose to donate any percentage of the final price to KEEN, and you’ll get a corresponding discount on eBay’s fees. We can also claim Gift Aid if you pay UK income tax! Just click the ‘Sell an Item’ button here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/egw/ebay-for-charity/charity-profile/KEEN-Oxford/81383
  • Did you make a new year’s resolution? Need help sticking to it? Why not get your friends to sponsor you to see it through? LocalGiving.com’s Grow Your Tenner campaign will double donations of up to £10 until the end of February, or their matched funding pot runs out. Click here to set a page up: https://localgiving.com/supporter/account/fundraising/new, or here if you would like to make a general donation to KEEN via the Grow Your Tenner campaign: https://localgiving.com/donation/keenoxford
  • Looking for a way to help out KEEN with no extra effort? With easyfundraising.org.uk popular retailers like Tesco, Amazon and Groupon will donate a percentage of your spend to KEEN when you make a purchase, at no extra cost! Every time you search the web using keenoxford.easysearch.org.uk instead of Google or any other search engine, half a penny is raised for KEEN Oxford.  Search just 15 times a day and you can raise around £25 a year! Click here to install the easyfundraising.org.uk search engine into your web browser: worldwide searchUK search

Wishing you a very happy new year!

Dan

Merry Christmas!

KEEN wishes all our volunteers, athletes, supporters and their families a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! The KEEN office will be closed from now until Monday 6th January. If you have a query, please send an e-mail to keen@keenoxford.org and it will be answered as soon as possible after we re-open. For urgent issues, you can contact our chair of trustees Paul Maryan at chairoftrustees@keenoxford.org.

A mini-review of 2012-13

This year we’ve celebrated 25 years of KEEN in Oxford and continued, through the founding concept of pairing enthusiastic young volunteer coaches with children with special needs one-to-one, to have a significant impact on the lives of our athletes and their families.

In the year 2012-13, there was a huge amount of KEEN activity, including ice skating trips, Christmas parties, swimming sessions, a treasure hunt, day trips, a go karting evening and more. All of this was made possible for the 143 athletes who took part by our 331 volunteers, and thanks to the foundations and donors who support KEEN.

Here’s how some of our volunteers have described their experience of KEEN this year:

“I have loved being able to spend time with all of the athletes and it has been a privilege to watch them all develop new skills, and I hope they have had as much fun as me.” Emily Jeffery

“… my personal highlights include everyone crawling through the giant tunnel into Fantastic Mr Fox’s den, mixing George’s Marvellous Medicine, or the amazing range of hats everybody made to wear to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.” Becky Turner

“To me two of the great things about KEEN are the dedication of its volunteers and the sheer diversity of activities it offers.” William Hallan

Review of the first term of 2013-14

AllSorts

Our sports session, AllSorts, remains the biggest of the week – we’ve had as many as 50 athletes along to some sessions this term! Sports coordinator Will and his team of session leaders have arranged an amazingly diverse array of activities for the athletes to rotate around, from traditional sports such as football, basketball and badminton to excitingly unconventional activities like capture the flag, crazy golf and boxercise. At our AllSorts Christmas party, we even had the British quidditch team champions, Oxford University Quidditch Club, along, as well as Father Christmas!

  

 KEEN Teens

KEEN Teens, our teenagers’ social club, will be five years old at the start of next term! Sessions have been as interesting and varied as ever, including the construction of egg-based contraptions, a Mexican Day of the Dead party, and a session based around retro game show The Crystal Maze!

  

Zig-Zag

Zig-Zag, our creative workshop, continues to incorporate elements of drama, music, art and craft into a story each week, following a theme for the term. This term we went Around The World on the Cruise Ship KEEN! Captain Coordinator piloted us to Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia, India, Kenya and Russia, receiving stamps in our passports for each country and helping out the locals along the way. At the end of the trip, we realised that the anchor had been down the entire time and the chain had wrapped all the way around the world, so the last session comprised a mad dash to re-visit every country in an hour!

  

GrEAT

Our over-18s social club has entered its second decade and is going from strength-to-strength! We often have over 40 members and volunteers packing out the St Clements Family Centre and this term’s GrEAT coordinator, Emily, arranged a fantastic programme of activities for everyone. As well as the traditional pub quiz at the Mitre, this term saw our members doing Zumba, taking part in a puzzling murder mystery investigation and partying hard at the Stingray club night!

 

Special Events

As always, Friday evenings at KEEN kicked off in slippery style with a massive ice skating session! Towards the end of term, we got together with Oxford University Brass Band to sing carols outside Marks and Spencers, spreading festive cheer, awareness of KEEN and raising some money too! We’ve also taken a group of athletes to see the pantomime at Oxford Playhouse, and we’ll be going swimming in January too.

  

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