14 over 10s had an exhilarating afternoon behind the wheel recently at another Young Driver event for foster children and foster carers own children. The real life driving lesson experience has been wildly popular with our children in the past, and there were plenty of excited faces as we met up and got ready to take the wheel.
At the start of the session each child who had not previously taken part in a Young Drivers session was given their own driver diary, before pairing up and gearing up ready for their driving lesson. Many of the children, having been to a Young Driver event with us before, were excited and feeling confident, whilst others who had not experienced being behind the wheel before were understandably a little apprehensive. Once each pair had decided who would drive first and who would be passenger (and Chief Moral Support Officer!) they took to the track!
Each child had a full half-hour driving lesson in a read dual-control learner driver car, with their partner as a back seat passenger until it was time to swap over. During the lesson the children were expertly guided by their instructors through a range of driving skills, dependent upon their previous experience and confidence behind the wheel, while their foster carers or parents watched from side, taking photos and being ready with big smiles and a reassuring thumbs up every now and then when the children glanced over.
At the end of the lessons, the instructors stamped the children’s driver diaries and made notes on what they had covered in their lesson so that if they came to future Young Drivers sessions they would be able to pick up where they had left off.
The children all enjoyed the real-life driving experience enormously despite some initial nervousness from those who had not done it before. All the children took part and completed their 30 minute lesson, concentrating fiercely throughout, and were respectful and supportive passengers when it was their partner’s turn to drive. The children were very proud to receive their Young Driver stamps in their driver diaries, with many of the first timers expressing that they were very happily surprised at how much better than expected they had done for their first go. Once again (this is our 4th time on the track now!) our Family Support Workers Rachel and Tracey were bombarded with thanks from children and foster carers for organising the event. Some of the carers even said that this had been the first event that their child had wanted to attend, and a few had had to travel quite a distance to attend but thought it was well worth the extra effort.
Given that this is such a popular activity with children and foster carers, and that having a driving licence is such a plus when getting a job or considering further education, we’re sure that we’ll all be back again for more time behind the wheel in the near future!