‘Sixteen degrees and rain’ was not a very promising forecast for the first day of camp, but it didn’t deter the Year 7s when they arrived at Phillip Island Adventure Resort last Wednesday.

After moving the luggage to their cabins and adding a layer or two to their clothing, the 192 Year 7 students and 23 staff attending the camp launched straight into the program and didn’t stop until we boarded the buses for home on Friday afternoon.

Activities included building rafts and attempting to launch and sail them on the lagoon, soaring across the vast green grounds on the zipline of a flying fox, balancing on high ropes suspended in the air between huge timber beams, and plunging from the sky on a giant swing. The students had to overcome fears, work as a team and show resilience and they did all of this with smiles and a positive attitude.

The evening activities on the first night included a visit to the Penguin Parade at sunset, followed by a movie or board games. Then it was off to bed for lots of giggling.

The second day also got off to a wet start but soon cleared into sunshine and more fun. The students took to the water again in canoes and enjoyed taking morning tea on a walk to Smiths Beach. New friendships were formed as they did team building activities and cooked pancakes over open fires they had built themselves. They then enjoyed some free time in their cabins and hot showers in the afternoon before an evening of healthy and enthusiastic competition in a Trivia and Games Night. ‘Guess the Lyric’ turned into a sing-along as the students couldn’t help belting out their favourite songs even when the music stopped. They became fiercely competitive again when they had to match the Pastoral Leader to the baby photo and dance for prizes doing a Just Dance, before having hot chocolate and slinking off to bed.

Despite the weariness we were all feeling by Friday morning, the camp finished strongly as everyone participated in their final activities and packed up ready to leave. They got on the buses feeling the sense of relief and exhaustion that comes from a few days of outdoor activity in winter weather, but also a deep sense of satisfaction and pride for the connections that had been formed and all that had been achieved.

The Phillip Island staff complimented the students for their behaviour but the students’ own words best capture the great time that was by enjoyed by all:

‘My highlight of camp was going on the giant swing and walking to Smiths Beach. I enjoyed the giant swing because it was very fun and exciting and there was also a nice view. The walk to Smiths Beach was very nice because we went on a walk and got to go to the beach. At the beach we got some chocolate cake and got to do a sandcastle building competition.’
Isabella M. (7LSA)

‘The experience I enjoyed the most at camp was the giant swing. It was an unforgettable, exciting and exhilarating experience. It made many people face their fears and challenge themselves. We encouraged each other and we all had lots of fun doing so. We got to make lifelong memories together, and that's why it was so fun.’
Alessia S. (7LSA)

‘My highlight of Year 7 camp was definitely the walk to Smiths Beach. It wasn't very far and it was a beautiful and sunny day. I really enjoyed just hanging out with my friends at the beach and playing in the sand and in the water. I also enjoyed the flying fox and high ropes. They were very high up which challenged me a little bit. High ropes is something I really enjoy doing and I would do it again if I could. The flying fox was really cool, I was going really fast and I could just let go of the rope.’
Autumn B. (7LSA)

‘My highlights from camp were the giant swing, walking to Smiths Beach, the high ropes and cabin time because I had a good cabin.’
Jerika L. (7LSA)

‘The things I enjoyed at camp were making new friends from my activity group and having a great time with everyone. I had a lot of fun and I had a really good time there. My highlight was the twin flying fox because it was really fun, and me and my friends had a great time with everyone.’
Sophia I. (7LSA)

‘My highlight from camp was the giant swing because I went all the way to the top and it was just really fun. Another one of my highlights was the high ropes since I got to overcome my fears. It was really high and it was also really hard to trust the harness but I really enjoyed myself. Cabin time was also really fun since I got to hang out with my friends and eat lollies!’
Alisha X. (7LSA)

‘Excitement, anxiety, fun, laughter, tears were all the emotions I felt before we set off for the Year 7 camp at Phillip Island. Movie night, playing games, eating, cabin time, and getting to know each other much more was so much fun. The water rafting was amazing, even though it was extremely wet! The giant swing was everyone’s favourite but the one activity everyone was scared to approach. Everyone tried activities out of their comfort zone, even if their friends had to encourage them. Everyone tried new activities that they would never have done before and best of all everyone made and developed friendships.’
Emilia F. (7JAD)

Sarah Nash
Year 7 Level Coordinator