Year 8 Camp 2021
During Week 3 of Term 1, the Year 8 students travelled inland to the scenic venue of Tyalgum Ridge Retreat for their annual camp. The boys and girls were split for the majority of the time, where they alternated between activities at the base camp, the hike and the campout. Students enjoyed a variety of exciting experiences from kayaking, bike riding, rock-hopping, a waterfall hike, low and high ropes, to initiative games and archery. The cohort also went on a campout where they demonstrated strong willpower and perseverance as they trekked through the forest to reach the campout location. Along the way, the students took in the views of the beautiful surroundings and visited some special landmarks that held important Indigenous meaning. On arrival at the campout, the students worked together in their groups to assemble their tents, build a campfire, and cook the dinner they had packed in preparation. All camp activities required responsibility, bravery, adventure, and collaboration.
The single-gender devotions program took place on both nights and were run by our incredible chaplaincy staff, Danny Nicholson, Rhys Colloty, and Ashleigh Wilson. The boys' devotions were centred around the story of David and Goliath - the message that we shouldn’t wear other people’s armour and the importance of making positive life choices. The devotional theme for the girls was finding the inner gold in themselves and others, with the aim to develop healthy, positive friendships and relationships. The girls were given opportunities to share words of affirmation amongst themselves and create an atmosphere of positivity and to promote self-worth. The praise and worship was powerful and led to a large number of students dedicating their lives to God for the first time. Teachers prayed for students, and students also prayed for one another. The devotions were definitely a highlight on camp.
Some comments from the students included:
- “Archery was my favourite activity on the second day of camp because everyone could give it a go. Rock-hopping was my favourite activity during the campout because it was a great way to challenge ourselves.”
- “My favourite part of camp was the devotions.”
- “The hike and campout were my favourite part because I got to bond with my friends.”
- “High ropes was my favourite activity because I got to face my fear of heights and it was very fast."
- “High ropes was my favourite activity because it was something I hadn't done before. I also loved the baby goats because they were really cute.”
From the teachers’ point of view, it was a fantastic experience to see the students learn, grow and flourish in an environment where they were challenged. The sense of achievement and reward amongst the students after activities like the hike, was wonderful to see. The main purpose of the camp was to bring the students closer to God, and with the impact of the encounters during devotions, it was heartwarming to see that goal achieved.
Olivia Goodhue and Damien Alexander
Year 8 Camp Leaders