Year 9 Survival Camp

“We don’t grow when things are easy, we grow when we face challenges.” Joyce Meyer

Equipped with custom-made paddles, dry-bags, canoes and basic supplies, students from in Year 9 Challenge headed off to Lake Somerset where they embarked on a series of challenges that tested their communication skills, physical endurance and patience.

Preparations began during Term 1 when students began shaping their own paddles for the trip. On the day of departure there was a tangible sense of pride as each student brought their completed paddle and loaded it on the trailer. Excitement ran high as clothes and sleeping gear were packed into dry-bags.

On arrival at the lake the canoes and gear were unloaded, then each group was given a map and instructions for the challenges to be completed. The first challenge was to build a raft to support their entire group and equipment for a voyage around the lake. Ideas and suggestions were flying as the groups raced to be the first on the water. Lashings were tied, luggage stowed and after much discussion the groups were finally underway. Paddles splashed in the sparkling lake as each craft headed off. Students completed challenges at each of the designated locations, which on completion provided additional survival items, including food and equipment.

For some, the most difficult tasks were the physical, social and emotional challenges that arose in the process of working together as a team. After a hearty meal of potatoes and coleslaw, sleep came quickly for most, thanks to the physical exertion of the day.

As the sun rose on Day 2, students undertook a substantial hike, which included map reading and group challenges at designated checkpoints. The hills were steep and the foliage thick. Persistence and determination were required to make it back to camp that afternoon.

Day 3 began with more team challenges around the lake, then after lunch all students found a quiet space to be on their own for a couple of hours. This was an opportunity to think about personal goals, reflect on the impact of technology on their lives, consider what values and beliefs are important to them and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

In the evening, the five groups went into competition mode with a rotation of five more challenges. Through the excited chatter and subsequent activities, there was an obvious sense of camaraderie and team bonding. Overall results from these rotations determined the start time handicap for the next morning’s final challenge, a race to the finish.

As the mist began to lift, each team nominated their MVP who they then carried on a uniquely constructed ‘throne’ raised above their canoe raft. The race ended in a close finish with Mr Dever’s boys just edging out Ms Martin’s girls with centimetres to spare.

Learning and growth happens best through challenge. These Year 9 young men and women showed courage, determination and the ability to creatively overcome obstacles to achieve the success of learning more about themselves, as well as communicating and working together as a team. There will be many stories told of the experiences and memories of this camp.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill