Boys are experiential, hands-on learners – they require a curriculum which gives them opportunities to have practical experiences to draw important lessons from. The Year 9 Outdoor Learning Program is one such experience.
All Year 9 students participated in the Outdoor Learning Program last week. This program comprised three different five-day camp experiences the boys could choose from – Bushwalking and Kayaking/Canoeing on the Murray River, Bush Walking and Rock Climbing in the Grampians and Bush Walking and Mountain Bike Riding on the Wabonga Plateau. One of the important aims is to take the boys out of their comfort zones by removing them from the creature comforts of home, their technology and the routines and activities they are comfortable with. It is in this space that they confront the significant challenges of living in a tent, self-catering and cooking their own meals, managing hygiene and navigating in the outdoors. Teamwork and resilience are critical skills which the boys draw upon throughout their five-day journey. Below are a few accounts straight from the horse’s mouth.
On Monday morning at 8 o’clock we departed school and set off on a four-hour bus ride to Yarrawonga where we were dropped off to get organised for our canoeing and hiking camp. We organised our hiking bags which weighed about 25kgs and off we went on our canoes paddling down the Murray River. We continued this for the next day and a half setting up our camp each night at a different location on the Murray. The next 2 days we bushwalked for a total of twelve kilometres, again setting up camp of a night at different spots. Some of the highlights of this camp was camping and having fun with mates and enjoying the outdoors doing various activities which were challenging for some. The major challenge was not having enough food for the first 2 days! For our group we had to provide two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners. This involved some planning as a group prior to going to camp and we thought we had this sorted and well organised… this was not to be the case! So luckily we were all happy to share what extra food we had including the excess trail mix and lollies. This experience has shown me that with teamwork and perseverance you can manage and overcome anything when you put your mind to it.
For Year 9 camp I went to the Grampians and did rock climbing and hiking. Some of my favourite parts of the camp was the group I was in and was the rock climbing. The group that I had made my camp experience amazing. The rock climbing was challenging but I enjoyed giving it a try. I also found the 15km hike with our packs on hard, but after it was done, I was proud of myself.
What I will take away from this camp is to push myself to strive for my best even if it is challenging.
It is an experience the boys never forget and sometimes this is because it tests them in so many ways. However, it is in adversity and difficult times that we learn the most about ourselves and it is in overcoming challenges that we grow.
A huge thank-you to the following staff who took five days away from their families to accompany the boys on their journey: Mr Wood, Ms Fernando, Ms Hoinville, Ms Hee, Mr Goodall, Mr Freeman, Mr Johnson, Mrs Thompson, Mr Savage, Mr Ingram, Mr Smeed and Mr Fitter.
Deputy Principal – Students