Finally, Year 7 were able to experience the outdoors this year after being postponed in Term 1 due to torrential rain and flooding throughout the Illawarra. For many young men it was a relief to eventually have their camp in Week 4 after missing previous camps in their primary school years due to school lockdowns and health restriction in place during Covid.
For most of the cohort it was an eventful week overcoming personal fears and undertaking challenging activities that required resilience, trust, encouragement, teamwork, ingenuity, balance, strength, stamina, tolerance, effort, participation and stepping outside their comfort zone.
Fitzroy Falls has many activities as well as a relaxing and tranquil environment to move away from suburbia and enjoy the bush and outdoors. Leaving the books and devices at home and school. Being with nature and understanding the importance of living with other members of your tribe and pastoral classes. Spending time with teachers and students. Developing and building upon friendships and respecting each others limitations and many talents.
The meals were enjoyable, tasty and more than enough to have seconds and not feel hungry later. The instructors from Optimum were informative, helpful and always supportive during the camp keeping the boys going and active during the time away from school.
The days were chilly and a little wet but did not disrupt the activities or the spills and fun had by all the boys during the week. High wires, low wires, big swing, abseil, mountain biking, challenge games, Koori talk and walk were an introduction to the outdoor activities that will require more effort and skill as we continue through the next few years of Stage 4 and 5.
Each night the boys had a movie option and in the first half of the week took part in a Talent Quest due to rain forcing the outdoor camp fire and damper to be cancelled. However, the talent quest uncovered a number of star performers. There were several acts put together by each of the tribes and to add some spice to the entertaining evening there was an act from the instructors and from the teachers.
In the second half of the week the group managed to have their outdoor camp fires and damper. Enjoying the outdoors of silence and sitting around the fire under a star lit sky and taking in the time together reflecting on the camp and making delicious dampers with golden syrup.
Night life in the cabins was cosy, very chatty and difficult for some to get a good night sleep on day one. By night two it was very clear most were very tired and were well off to sleep before the lights went out.
We are grateful to Optimum for providing the opportunity to attend Fitzroy Falls and have such an enjoyable and memorable week. We are appreciative of the teachers who joined us on camp leaving their families, loved ones and classes to enable us to experience what was our first camp for many of us. For each and every student it was fun, exciting, memorable, educational, life changing and good to get away.
Year 7 Pastoral Care Coordinator