Rock, stick and leaf: the benefits of school camp

With most of our Senior School students away at camps and development programs this week, we thought we’d take a look at some of the reasons why participating in camp is such an important part of school life.

“Isn’t it just a break away from the classroom?”

We’ve all thought it! Camp is just a break from the routine of school! In part yes, but the learning doesn’t stop away from the classroom, here are some of the positive benefits:

1. Social skills

Developing good social skills is a key part of achieving success later in life. At camp there are numerous ways to develop a wide range of social skills that strengthen established relationships and develop new ones.  Working in groups to ensure the smooth-running of the camp, team-building while supporting each other during physical activity, and forming a community with their peers and teachers are just some of the ways that camp helps students in this area.

 

2. Independence

For some children school camp may be their first time away from home. It’s important that as parents we remember that our job is to give kids the skills to (eventually) leave home. Camp is a gentle first step, providing an opportunity for kids to take care of themselves. Most kids rise to the challenge while perhaps developing a new-found appreciation for how they are looked after at home!

 

3. Personal growth

Challenging themselves in unfamiliar situations and tasks can have a transformative effect on kids and really boost their confidence. Being away from home and participating in a full camp program – working as a team, cooperating in tasks and being part of a community helps children to understand that they can stand on their own two feet.

 lorne surfing

 

4. Encouragement of physical fitness and active lifestyles

During camp, children will be exposed to a variety of experiences. These experiences are active and facilitate learning in a variety of forms, providing a greater awareness of skills and capabilities that may be new for many.

Year 11

Year 11

Last year our Principal, Jon Charlton, joined some of the Year 11 students on their camp, here he shares his thoughts on the positive benefits of camp:

“Having completed the trail, the OEG leader asked our students to find a small rock, a stick and a leaf. We gathered together in a circle and then she asked us to take turns to share something that had ‘rocked’, something that would ‘stick’ with us and finally something that we wanted to ‘leaf’ behind as a result of the week.

What ‘rocked’?  Students commented, ‘Riding downhill’, ‘I didn’t think I could ride so far but I did’, ‘The whole week’, ‘A sense of accomplishment’, ‘Previously, I have only seen scenery on my computer, it is breathtaking’, ‘Learning more about teamwork and the environment’.

What would ‘stick’ with them?  ‘The views’, ‘The Cheviot Tunnel’, ‘Students pushing on despite the pain they were experiencing’, ‘Learning about water use, and environmental issues regarding plastics’, ‘Fun moments’, ‘Friendship’, ‘Bonding’.

What did they want to ‘leaf’ behind?  ‘Sleeping in a tent’, ‘Lack of sleep’, ‘Sore bodies, bruises’, ‘Self doubt’, ‘Negativity’.

There is no doubt in my mind that a challenging camping program is a vital part of a rich educational experience.  The learnings are often profound and frequently life changing.  Friendships deepen and relationships grow.  Come Year 12 Valedictory Day, they are the experiences most often recounted and reflected upon by students and staff.”