Outdoor adventure for the kids

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ZIPPING through the air, climbing extraordinary heights and hanging out with friends - all while you’re at work.

That’s just some of the activities that my daughter had great fun doing while I was working.

Does that seem fair?

Obviously not.

In fact I would have loved the opportunity to have done something like PGL when I was a teenager.

However, far too many years later I can now see the attraction from both sides.

It is not only great for the children but it also eases the huge stress of childcare.

Jordan went to Boreatton Park in the middle of a wonderfully rural part of Shropshire for the first week of the summer holidays.

So that was one week of the six ticked off.

As it turned out it was the best week of her holiday if not her year – she loved every minute.

The great thing about PGL from my point of view is that they get to try all sorts of things that aren’t part of every day life.

Raft-building, zipwire and exploring. All children have a sense of adventure no matter how well they hide it as they turn into teenagers, and so being able to do something completely new is always fun.

The best thing through Jordan’s eyes was that she got to meet lots of very cool new friends and mix with people she would never normally meet.

Shropshire is only a couple of hours away from Sheffield but plenty of families had travelled further.

There were even some from abroad and it is just a great chance to chill out with people your own age without embarrassing parents looking over your shoulder.

Don’t worry, they are all supervised all of the time but most of the staff are students on their summer holidays.

Automatically that makes them a million times more fun than mum or dad.

Lots of the staff have also been on PGL holidays themselves when younger, so they know exactly what is fun and what definitely isn’t.

As soon as you arrive at Boreatton Park you are greeted and told where to park.

This might sound obvious but it is a massive site, mainly comprising open countryside, and different age groups stay in different areas.

The excitement builds long before check-in.

You pass groups trying archery, water sports and playing on the largest swing you are ever likely to see.

Jordan’s age group stays in wooden chalets with four or six girls in each.

It is crucial that they get on in such a confined space but fortunately they did and there is nothing wrong with brushing up your social skills with strangers who are soon to be friends.

Of course there are always going to be a few nerves as fond farewells are said, although since Jordan had been before I have to admit they weren’t on her side.

She had three different activities to pick from as she skipped off into the sunset, well that’s how it felt from where I was standing.

The strange thing about children’s holiday camps is that as a parent I’d assumed that they would only be fun for youngsters who have lots of confidence.

Not so, I was told later.

Apparently there are lots of PGLers who start off timid as a mouse but within a couple of days are just as loud as the rest of them.

Jordan said that in the space of seven days friendships can be forged, broken, reunited and personalities completely change as people start to relax.

If that isn’t a lesson in life I don’t know what is.

The youngest age PGL accept is seven and her little brother, then aged six and a half, was very quick to point that out.

I would definitely feel more nervous about leaving him for a week at that age but just might knowing Jordan would be there.

It is nothing to do with safety – PGL have absolutely dotted every last i and crossed every t when it comes to that.

But with such a big age gap between the siblings they would do completely different activities.

I guess it comes down to each child and they are both already pleading to be able to go together this summer.

PGL do lots of specific holidays such as horse riding but Jordan loved the options available on the multi-activity break.

It is also the least expensive and that is no bad thing since the rest of the family still needed a holiday.

This is definitely not the cheapest way to keep the not-so-little ones entertained in the holiday but if you ask Jordan she’ll tell you it is the best.

All their food is provided and although they will obviously insist on taking as much pocket money as possible, the only thing they’ll really spend it on is sweets so don’t be fooled.

Jordan gave the food generally a thumbs up although she did say there were a couple of dishes that she was particularly keen on.

Since I get that at home I have to say that is probably pretty good going.

After all, feeding so many over-excited children three times a day is something I would not want to try.

One other thing you should prepare yourself for is the state of their clothes when they come back.

This takes muddiness to a new level – but then I didn’t mean to tip out of the canoe, she told me.

Luckily the washing machine soon cleared that up and we were left with a beaming daughter, buzzing about what an amazing time she’d had while I was at work.

There might not have been tears when we dropped her off on her adventure, but I think I might have spotted a moist eye as she said farewell to her new friends.

Well, on that score, thank goodness for Facebook.

Travel facts:

* Jordan enjoyed a week’s multi-activity holiday with PGL at the Boreatton Park adventure centre in Shropshire.

* Prices for 2013 lead in at £455 per child which includes seven nights’ full-board, fully-supervised accommodation, all activities, tuition and equipment.

* PGL offers adventure short breaks and holidays for children (aged seven to 16 years) in the UK and France. 0844 371 2424 or visit PGL

Holiday tip:

1 Send lots of clothes for them to change into - they get wet and dirty with all the outdoor activities!

2 The children aren’t allowed to keep a mobile on them but can leave one with staff for when they want to call home.

3 There are great deals on offer if you send them with a friend or sibling - these are worth looking into..