Year 9 Winter Camp

When we ask students of the Senior College what some of their fondest memories of Middle School are, quite often they refer to the Year 9 Winter Camp as being a highlight for them.

For five days, the Year 9 students attended Camp Howqua, located at the base of the Victorian Alpine Region for a range of energetic and challenging activities designed to develop resilience, leadership and collective problem-solving. There were not just physical challenges but also environmental as we experienced a variety of climates over the week, starting with sunshine Monday, followed by snow and plenty of rain. In the words of Forest Gump “…it started raining, and it didn’t quit…We been through every kind of rain there is. Little bitty stingin’ rain, and big ol’ fat rain, rain that flew in sideways, and sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath.” Thankfully for us, it was four days not four months.  

The weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of our girls! Following an early start on Monday 14 August, each Mentor group joined their teachers in one of Mountain Bike riding, Cross-Country Skiing on Mt Stirling, White-water rafting the Big River, Initiative Challenges or Bushwalking at Sheepyard Flat. Throughout the week students rotated through these activities. Each activity was distinctly different and required all students to build on their skills and in some instances extend or ‘stretch’ themselves outside of their comfort zones. With the focus of the Middle Schools being on ‘change and challenge’, this camp certainly provided plenty of both!

Each evening students and staff joined together for conversation, meals and activities that encouraged light-hearted interactions; be it a trivia challenge or games, there was plenty of laughs and fun times!

For staff, Year 9 Camp offered us so many chances to see and engage with students in a totally different environment to that of the classroom. These interactions enable staff and students to further develop positive relationships. The students’ willingness to participate fully and positively in all aspects of this camp was exceptional. Of particular note was the wonderful way in which students demonstrated the Compass values of respect, responsibility, independence, confidence, commitment and compassion. Throughout the week we received wonderful feedback from camp staff and the community which described our Year 9s in a very positive light.

On the final night of Camp, each group presented a video of their week which included some of their highlights. These productions were very creative and will give students some great visual memories of their exciting week. A collection of these videos and photos from the Camp will be made available through the Tintern Portal in the coming days.

We now look forward to our third and final Year 9 Camp for the year with Summer Expeditions taking place 4-8 December.

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