From the Middle School: Year 7 Camp
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Year 7 camp with 50 excited girls and 4 staff members.
The camp was held at Hindmarsh Island at the Little Eagle Campsite for 3 days and 2 nights. The Year 7 camp has been designed to introduce students to a range of aquatic recreational activities, whilst encouraging students to develop positive relationships with themselves, classmates, teachers, and the natural environment.
Camp allows students to be engaged in practical and active learning experiences in a natural environment. They are also able to develop a range of attributes such as responsibility, cooperation, communication, decision making, trust, self-management, dealing with conflict and leadership. These skills are necessary for future years of schooling and beyond.
On camp, students are faced with challenges that give them opportunities to rely on others and their own personal resources. Challenges may include home sickness, sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, different food, sore muscles, increased responsibility and accountability and social issues. These factors take girls outside of their comfort zone and provide them with an opportunity to develop their individual self-belief, grit and resilience.
During this experience students developed their outdoor education skills including camping in tents and trangia cooking. The girls rose to the challenge of cooking spaghetti bolognaise in a trangia and were especially talented at cleaning the pot at the end. We saw girls cleaning their trangia dishes in the grass for a lengthy period of time to make sure they received the reward of chocolate if the instructors deemed them clean enough. Parents, I assure you that they could definitely repeat this process at home by helping with dishes. The girls also put up their tents independently in a very short amount of time.
The girls rotated through kayaking, sailing, cycling and surfing experiences. The kayaking and sailing were located at the same location and you could tell where our girls were at all times as they would sing whilst they were out on the water. The instructors were very impressed with their vocal abilities and positive attitude. The group that went sailing on the first day had some excellent conditions and managed to showcase a range of skills.
Cycling was quite a challenging activity for the girls as we had a range of abilities from non-riders to skilled riders. The girls listened intently to the instructions and were able to give their best effort on the bike ride. The teachers are still recovering from the hard bike seats but the girls took it all in their stride. In the first group, one group of students managed to ride the entire distance and then back to the campsite, which we were told is not completed by many students.
Surfing was a very popular activity with the students and my personal favourite. The surf instructor, Phil, was fantastic and I highly recommend his “learn to surf” business. The girls all gave surfing a good shot and the majority were able to stand up. The only part of surfing that caused a stir were the small crabs that would nip your feet if you happened to step on them. The girls handled this very well and we all had a great time surfing.
I would like to sincerely thank the staff who attended, Annabel Howard, Anita McCurdie, Barbara Morrison and Lydia Klein (Gap Student) for the care and consideration they showed the girls throughout the camp. They supported and encouraged the girls for the three days and were there to help when needed. I would also like to acknowledge the exceptional behaviour and positive attitude of the girls; I was very proud of their conduct as they were one of the best groups I have ever taken on camp.
Head of Middle School