Challenge, insight and altruism!

During the course of the final three weeks of term a number of year levels have partaken in their camping experiences for the year. This has included the Year 1 Sleepover, the Year 2 Camp, Year 4 Camp, Year 5 Camp, Year 10 Camp and the two-week trip to Cambodia for our Year 11 students.

I am blessed to be experiencing the highs of the Year 10 Camp this week, situated in The Grampians, Victoria. The camp allows for ‘exploration’ or ‘adventure’ throughout the western part of Victoria. The exploration experience has taken students to Ballarat, Port Campbell and around the Grampians region, while the adventure stream has undertaken bike riding, abseiling, canoeing, bush-walking and high ropes in the immediate vicinity of Halls Gap.

The College provides these learning experiences so that individual students are allowed a space and place to further grow, develop, be challenged, experience environments that are new and discover new insights about themselves, their peers and the world in which we exist.

It has been heartening for me to witness first-hand the personal and group challenges that have been accomplished by our students. There are the more complex, emotive challenges such as overcoming a fear of heights, connecting with new friends away from usual friends or spending time away from home. There are also less emotive, but just as difficult challenges in their own way such as learning a new card game, completing a Rubik’s Cube or even packing a bag for camp!

Through such challenges comes new insights and even paradigm shifts, allowing students to see the world in a new way, but importantly see themselves in a new way – this is a powerful outcome.

Sometimes when students return home from these events, you can get lots of chatter about all the experiences, but sometimes it can be limited. Consider using some of these questions to gain a deeper insight into your child’s mind after their camping times away:

  • What happened on camp that made you laugh?
  • What games did you play while at camp?
  • Who did you admire for doing something courageous on camp? Why?
  • How did you help someone on camp?
  • How did someone help you on camp?
  • What did you learn about yourself on camp?
  • What is one thing you learnt on camp that you hope to use again in the future?

Camp programs really hit the spot for educators when students demonstrate altruism in their interactions and development. Our students in Cambodia, are experiencing this first hand, as mature, educated, ethical young learners who are seeking to serve the local people of Cambodia. Their own self-sacrifice of the creature comforts of home will allow the current and future generations of Cambodia to have the kickstart to life that we are so easily given.

I commend each student for the manner in which they embrace and engage in these learning activities. I especially thank the staff, teaching and support, parent helpers and volunteers who all attend and give of their time away from their families, to allow such incredible opportunities for our students! I thank you all.

Mr Cain McDonald


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