12 Dec Group Leader Interview – Dom
Name: Dom (If the children ask, it’s short for Domzilla)
When Started: April 2017
Position Held: Group Leader
Background: BSc Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, 2 seasons at summer camp in Canada, Council funded youth work, Used to be a child.
Hobbies / Interests: Running, Cycling, Football, Spikeball, Watching sport, …Sport, Fresh air, Good views, Climbing Mountains, Towers and Trees, Coffee, Writing lists that are unnecessarily long.
What centre do you work at and what’s great about where you live?
Tod. A lot of people enjoy the proximity to the Lakes, Peak and North Wales, but I love the immediate surroundings. I come from the Garden of England which now seems more like a suburban backyard when compared to God’s Own Country.
Why did you choose Robinwood?
Because it had a great website. The careers page completely sold me on the ethos, lifestyle and the way they look after staff. I kin of stumbled into the industry after looking at more conventional jobs related to my degree, before I realised you could make a living playing, telling jokes and having a laugh with children. Why would anyone get a normal job?
How did you find the selection process?
I vividly remember thinking that any company that uses a Piranha Pool as an interview is a company that I want to work for. I went to bed too late as I was enjoying hanging out with the other candidates too much and then couldn’t sleep because I was still thinking about running my activity the following day and had foxes and lighthouses going round my head all night. Can’t have been too much of a car crash in the end.
What’s your favourite thing about working for Robinwood?
The Doing Stuff Rather Than Not Doing Stuff Group Thingy on Facebook represents what’s great about the lifestyle. There are always other fun like-minded people that are willing to do stuff on days off and during the holidays. It is a healthy lifestyle physically as the work keeps you active, but it is also healthy socially. Also if I didn’t work for Robinwood, I’d have to get a proper job.
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing how much the children love it and seeing how much the teachers love it. Even more so when they tell you how much they’ve loved it. It makes me proud to work for Robinwood.
What is it like working with 7-11 year olds?
They aren’t yet stroppy teenagers and it allows me to continue being the child I think I still am. I love hearing every week that they don’t want to leave and occasionally receiving letter from them. One boy wrote “You might fogget me but I won’t fogget you”. I wish adults were as easy to impress…
Describe your first group in 5 words.
Anxiety preceding triumphant relief. Pub.
What’s been your funniest moment?
I had a boy in my group who was a Syrian refugee and had only been in the UK for a few weeks. He was very sweet but didn’t speak much English so could only tell me about his two loves – Football and Swimming. I don’t think he was deliberately misbehaving, but if he wanted to do something he was used to just doing it as he hadn’t had a structured education. During Canoeing his urge to go swimming was so great he capsized his boat including the teacher, proceeded over to the next boat, said ‘You swim too!’ and pulled another 3 children into the water. It was only after he had a shower and returned to Raft-Building where it took 4 staff to try to catch him while he tried to go swimming again that I caught myself chuckling at how ridiculous the whole situation was.
What is your favourite session to run and why?
Bouldering (Weaseling) at Old School, especially on a nice day. You get to be a real Outdoor Instructor and I love the ‘nature walk’ part of it, particularly with children that do not have easy access to the countryside. Equally there have been outdoorsy children that have taught me names of plants and interesting nature facts. I love it when children comment on the view from the top.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying?
Stop considering it, then once you’ve applied, enjoy the selection weekend – it’s a great experience regardless of whether you get the job. And when you have to build a bridge, remember the assessors are there to assess you and not the bridge.
Even more so when they tell you how much they've loved it. It makes me proud to work for Robinwood.