On Wednesday 11th May, students and staff made the journey down the south coast to the picturesque YouthWorks ‘Waterslea’ camp site near Nowra for Year 8 Camp.
The excitement and anticipation was high as the next three days of outdoor adventure awaited us. The expected weather did not stray from the forecast as we were met with a damp few days and nights in the beautiful Cambewarra Valley next to the flowing Shoalhaven River.
The girls wasted no time as they prepared in teams and headed out on the overnight expedition either on foot, hiking through the lush local rainforest, or paddling in canoes towards the overnight tenting destination. The students and staff were relatively relieved that the recent and constant deluges meant that the infamous muddy river crossing was deemed a non-viable route. Although there were plenty of highly slippery, squelchy and muddy bog tracks to ensure all socks and shoes were well and truly soaked and soggy!
While the girls trekked, navigated and floated to their overnight camping ground, the boys actively participated in a range of on-site activities such as water-sliding, low ropes, go karting, initiatives games and river rafting.
The drizzle and damp from the clouds was constant throughout the first day and night and this made for an interesting evening of open flame cooking and camping for the girls huddled under communal shelters. What a fantastic shared character and resilience building and relationship bonding experience as the girls bunkered down under the stars behind the clouds.
As the bleary eyed but buoyant girls packed up and returned to the main campsite, to say that they were excited to have warm showers, put on dry clothes, be out of the rain and have a chill and pamper night – was a serious understatement!
As the girls returned the cohort shared lunch together before the boys busily prepared to head out for their expedition. The rain continued to softly and beautifully fall creating a somewhat mystical and serene feel on the river and a magical vibe in the rainforest as students learnt valuable orienteering skills while carrying all their gear to camp. The sound of soft rain falling on tent canvas overnight soothed most souls as tired eyes and legs enjoyed well earned slumber in sleeping bags.
The Youthworks instructors were brilliant as they supported, guided, served and shared some fantastic skills and insights about the outdoors, life and faith.
Overall this camp was a character and resilience building opportunity for all students and staff as we stepped (sometimes jumped) out of our comfort zones and encouraged each other through the challenges and triumphs with a bunch of fun and laughs along the journey.
Special thanks to our committed Year 8 Homegroup staff team who made camp great. Well done to all students for their determination and comradery in challenging weather conditions – we are proud of you all!
Mr Matthew Tomlin
Director of Student Well-being 7-8