Outdoor Education (OE) and Year 9 Departmental News
The Outdoor Education program has ended for another year. This term has been hectic, beginning with the Year 7 students going on their first OE program. We had some changes to the program this year, going to not only Lake Tyers but also to Buchan. The students spent the week exploring the area in a number of different ways. Throughout the program, each group would go to a different campsite each night. They had a busy week, rock climbing, caving, bushwalking and canoeing. It is a great, but challenging, introduction to Outdoor Education.
Our final program for the year was with the Year 9 cohort, incorporating not just one, but seven different activities that the students could choose from. It is a great way for the Year 9s to finish the year, reinforcing everything they have learned over the years in Outdoor Ed. Being able to choose their final activity for the weeklong camp generally means the students take more ownership of the program and display high levels of interest in the activity at hand. The idea behind electives is not just for the students to have fun, but to gain a new skill. Many of the programs involved the completion of an accreditation.
Our first group left on the Sunday and headed past Horsham to Mt Arapiles. Monday morning was the potential logistical nightmare, with six programs departing the Outdoor Education Department full of excitement and destined for different locations in Victoria.
On the coast, we had the Surfer Camp at Sandy Point. The group handled the surf conditions well, all managing to stand up and ride waves by the end of the week.
Nice and close to home, yet still feeling remote, was the White Water Rafting group on the Mitchell River, and Horse Riding at Coonawarra. The horse riders had a fantastic trip, finding it difficult to say goodbye to the horses they became so close to over the week. Our rafters thrived in the sunny weathers and strong river conditions.
Over the Great Dividing Range near Bright, our fly fishers enjoyed themselves with a fantastic company called River Escapes, who we have worked with now for a few years. In addition to fishing, the group participated in an entomology and steam-craft course. This camp took a lot of organisation by Mick Ripon, who deserves our thanks.
New this year was two more groups in the Bright region. We had a Mountain Bike program exploring the area and learning new skills on some exciting trails, plus a slower but just as enthusiastic Bushwalking group, hiking from Mt Hotham to Falls Creek.
We had some strange weather for the week, with some challenging heat followed by rain and thunderstorms. It was great to see how well the students supported each other and handled the conditions.
Although it was an extremely busy week, Year 9 students and staff had a fantastic time. To have so many students on camp at the same time in varying locations required the support of a large number of staff during an already busy time of year. I would like to thank them all for their hard work; the week could not have been as successful as it was without their help.
It has been sad to say goodbye to this group of Year 9s. We wish them all the best for the future.
Being close to the end of the year it is also time to say good-bye to our Gap students, Peter Brown and Solomon Jones. We wish them both all the best for the future. We also say thank you to all the sessional staff that have been such a great support throughout the year. These staff are an integral part of the Outdoor Education program. They may not be on site every week, but they are an integral part of our team. Both Outdoor Ed and Year 9 staff are looking forward to another great year next year; we hope all the students are as well.
Finally, farewell to Steve Anderson - a fixture of the Year 9 Centre for more than a decade. Mr Anderson is a popular teacher and colleague who thrived in Outdoor Education programs; he will be sorely missed by both staff and students. Thank you Steve for all your hard work.
Cass Booth (Head of Outdoor Education) and Tyler Smith (Head of Year 9)