In early June, Year 8 undertook their week-long camp in the Nightcap Ranges, From the Mountain to the Sea, in which students made their own way – hiking, biking, paddling – through the beautiful forests and waterways of our local area.
There were many standout moments during the week: the students spontaneously playing touch football at any given chance, ringed by the forest at Rummery Park; setting off on our two-day hike watching the colourful trail of backpacks and rain jackets bob along the path ahead; coming out of the mists of the forest and seeing glimpses of the far horizon through Bangalow Palm studded valleys; reaching the lookout over Uki one way and back to Byron the other and basking in warm afternoon sunshine – a welcome relief after the rain! – only to share the rocky outcrop with a mighty python (Ric reckons two adult hands would not have encompassed its belly); watching the students work in teams to cook each night and getting to sample their delicious meals; listening to them laugh and laugh, in particular while playing King of the Mountain; waking up to distant drumming in the valley on our last morning; quietly paddling down the Brunswick River in the afternoon light on Friday.
Of all the standout moments, none eclipsed the times when the students stepped up to meet the challenges of the camp and never more so than when they stepped up to support each other. This is a class who know how to offer support, sympathy and motivation, as much as they know how to monkey around and have fun! Our key words for the week were Resilience and Perseverance: finding the deeper capacities within ourselves to go further or do more than we thought ourselves capable of, and seeing each activity embarked upon through to its completion. Peter shared a story of a marathon runner whose mantra was “Can I give more?” and this summed up the spirit of the camp. We were especially lucky to have Ric take this camp, stepping in at the last minute to direct operations when Stuart’s wife gave birth to their third son two days before our departure date! Thank you Ric – this was a memorable camp we will all treasure, and an honour to complete with you as your last Year 8 camp.
– Alix and Peter