Outdoor Education: Developing Leaders, Community, Friendships

Busses packed. Pillows firmly on laps. Lollies stashed away in bags. Laughter filling the aisles. Do you remember your first school camp?

Westside Christian College continued its long history of outdoor education with a series of camps in Term 3. From Moogerah to Burleigh, students in years 7, 8. 9 and 11 enjoyed getting to know each other, test their limits and discover what it means to be a leader at Westside.

Students on Yr 7 Camp

Students on Yr 7 Camp bonding at the beach.

The Year 7 cohort traversed the Burleigh region and Gold Coast Hinterland on their camp. Paddleboarding, tubing and hiking were all on the agenda as CYC Burleigh brought out the best in our students. Parents eagerly followed their adventures on Facebook, where regular photo updates were available. The goal of the camp was connection and reflection. One student wrote, “High school is like a whirlwind sometimes. It’s really busy.” She also commented “I liked this camp because it was a time to just stop after exams and really connect with my friends again.” Students were trained in important skills like time-management, school-life balance, and the need to build strong friendships. Former Westside student and now outdoor educator at CYC, Steven Johnson reflected positively “I’m sograteful for Westside’s outdoor ed. program. It inspired me to go into it while I complete my Education degree.”

Year 9 students undertook a wide range of outdoor educational activities on their camp. The goal for the cohort was to find strength and recognise the value of determination. They challenged themselves with high ropes, pole climbs, hiking and camping out under the stars. Preparing food, fending off the rain and encouraging one-another to conquer fears were all par for the course. Mrs Rachel Cramer reflected “It was special to see adversity draw the students together. They cheered when someone jumped from the pole or took that first step onto the wire. They really grew as a grade.” Another student gleamed “I did not want to put on that harness! But I knew I was there for a reason. So I did it. I felt really supported”

The Year 11 cohort undertook leadership training amongst the picturesque greenery of Mt Tamborine. There they learnt to understand themselves and others. “What really hit me was something my dad had always taught me: you cannot lead if you’re not willing to serve” noted Sasagi, who joined the College in Year 10.  Over three days of careful reflection, students began preparing for life beyond school, equipped with the tools they’ll need. Year 11 Co-ordinator, Mr Wayne Hiron emphasised “when you support a leader, you are demonstrating leadership. When you stand against unjust, unethical practices, you are demonstrating leadership. When you swallow your pride because you believe in a vision bigger than yourself, you are demonstrating leadership.” 

Parents, students and friends can keep up with live updates from our camps by following Westside Christian College on Facebook.

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