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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com.
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
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, 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, 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!
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!
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.