Published on: 5 December 2014

Year 10 boys returned home from Venture – the 11-day expedition in WA’s South West that has become a rite of passage for all Year 10 Christ Church students. This year, a final walk back to the School from College Park gave boys time to reflect on their achievement as they arrived home ready for the next phase in their Christ Church journey.

Venture places 14 groups on walk routes throughout the old growth forest and coastal environment of Walpole-Nornalup National Park. It is the pinnacle of Christ Church’s Outdoor Education program, which begins in Year 5 at Kooringal, the School’s outdoor education campus.

Director of Kooringal Dave Anderson said the boys continued to take greater ownership of their journey in 2014 – becoming more responsible for the processes behind the expedition, such as packing their own food and equipment. He said there had been an increased focus throughout the Outdoor Education program on the boys understanding what goes into the planning process.

“They learn that there is a lot involved and about the importance of planning as a life skill,” Mr Anderson said. “On a challenging expedition like Venture, you soon discover that without planning and preparation, you won’t make the distance to reach camp at the end of the day.”

Venture aims to develop the boys’ sense of place, create relationships with the environment and with each other, and understanding the importance of living a healthy life. “Experiencing this along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, walking through plains, tundras and the great forests with 500-year-old trees really shows the boys their place in the bigger picture, and life beyond Queenslea Drive.”

Another new addition this year, was a letter of affirmation written by a parent, which was presented to the boys by their group leader during their solo time late in the journey. Mr Anderson said it was quite emotional for many and gave them an appreciation of things they often take for granted.

A visit to each group by international conservationist and raconteur Gary Muir, widely regarded as ‘Mr Walpole’, was also new. Gary, who is the eighth generation of his family to live in and around Walpole, introduced the boys to basic principles of geology, history and biology of the area, the cultural roots of its local Indigenous people as well as native animals and plants.

Mr Anderson said there would be special additions to next year’s Venture to mark the 25th anniversary of the expedition.