Psalm 24:1-2 A Psalm of David. The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

“The outdoor learning connection provides a framework for students to experience guided, integrated learning across the curriculum in natural environments. Students have the opportunity to gain unique and specific benefits from outdoor learning. They develop skills and understandings while valuing a positive relationship with natural environments and promoting the sustainable use of these environments.” (Australian Curriculum)

On 9 February 2021, our Year 10 cohort gathered at the Ashmore Campus bus stop, all eagerly awaiting our departure. There was a mixture of excitement and apprehension as the students learnt which camp group they were in, and what program they were going to undertake over the next six days. Staff members were reassuring nervous students that all would be fine, there were some last-minute group arrangements and finally farewell hugs from their parents. After running through checklists, loading both buses with carefully packed bags and marking off student names, we set off on our three-hour journey to the beautiful Conondale National Park on the Sunshine Coast. The trip flew by with the students chatting about the activities and likely weather they would experience.

Upon arrival at the various locations, the students were introduced to their facilitators and set off for some ice-breaker activities and to learn how to pack their backpacks. Each group had a different focus, degree of difficulty and program.

Camp Groups 1 and 2, the mountain bike and hike groups, were taken to Yabba Park.The two ‘Bike and Hike’ groups were then presented with impressive mountain bikes, safety gear and backpacks. Camp Group 3 ‘the Paddle’ group was taken to Boreen Point on the banks of Lake Cootharaba. The lake leads from the Noosa River and up to national parks. ‘Paddle and Hike’ Group 4 was taken to Habitat Noosa on the shores of Lake Cootharaba.Groups 5 and 6 were the two ‘Combination’ groups. The Combination program entailed hiking, mountain biking and canoeing. Group 5 was taken to Harry’s Hut, which is situated on the banks of the Noosa river. My group, Group 6 was taken to Habitat Noosa where we set up camp next to Group 4.

One of the most successful things that we always see happen in outdoor group programs, is the deep bonds that form within the groups. There is something special that happens when a group of people leave their normal routine and spend six days away from home, on camp. Participating in activities as a team and having lots of opportunity for conversations and getting to know one-another really creates an environment for strong relationships to be formed. The time spent sharing meals together was, for some of our students, the first time they had prepared and cooked a meal. One of our evening meals was particularly memorable as the food had an interesting texture to it. It turned out that our food prep team forgot to wash the sand off the cutting boards before they cut up the vegetables, making for a rather gritty, crunchy Italian pasta dish. After that night everyone made sure the cutting boards were squeaky clean.

Our Year 10 students stepped up every day, rising to the daily challenges they faced.They had to problem solve and work together as a team, acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses to achieve their goals. After each day’s activities we had a group debrief which enabled the students to reflect on their own leadership skills and evaluate where they could have done better. The challenges set helped create strong bonds and a better team.

God sometimes allows us to wade into deep waters so that we learn not only to hold tighter onto Him but also that, through faith, we will find the strength to swim.

When our students returned to the Ashmore Campus on Sunday, I saw how happy they were to see their beautiful families there to greet them. Some students were a bit sore after long hours of mountain biking and most were looking forward to a long hot shower. They most certainly returned much more appreciative of their creature comforts.

I am proud to say that our 2021 school theme, #WeAreTrinity_StrongTogether, is embodied in our Year 10 cohort.

Mrs Amanda Williams

Head of Year 10