Published on: 3 May 2013

The first of the Year 7 camps got underway at the end of March with the last camp held in the final week of Term 1. For boys new to Christ Church in 2013, it was their first taste of the School’s comprehensive outdoor education program at its home base, Kooringal.

Assistant Director of Kooringal Ryan Myles said the four-day camp aimed to enhance boys’ awareness of self and living with others, and to build on their bush camping skills. Mr Myles said most of the activities and challenges were structured around getting to know the peers they will spend the next six years with in the Senior School.

Boys attend the camps in house groups – two houses at a time – where they start with either an expedition or activities based around the Kooringal campsite. After an introduction and some initiative games, the expedition group begin learning the ins and outs of packing their own backpack including how to waterproof a sleeping bag. The group then set off on a 3km bushwalk to the campsite where they spend their first night.

Here, they set up their hutchies (tent flyers) and cook themselves a meal of savoury mince and macaroni, over a trangia (camp stove). Mr Myles said the boys enjoy sitting around the campfire, telling stories and playing games. The next day they canoe back along the Murray River, complete with pulling canoes over rock bars, and back to Kooringal.

Meanwhile, the second group are kept busy with a variety of activities ranging from orienteering and abseiling through to learning about their place within the environment, bush skills and improving their local indigenous knowledge. These boys also spend a night under the stars in their hutchies.

This year, the boys were given an additional night of camping in the neighbouring paddock to Koorignal. “On the final night, the boys got another opportunity to camp, altogether as one big group. It also gave them a chance to cook another meal – this time gnocchi with chorizo, which was a big hit with the boys,” he said.

Mr Myles said the boys had some important visitors including Headmaster Garth Wynne and their Heads of House, who also stayed overnight. “Overall, the camp was extremely positive for the Year 7s. They were a wonderful cohort and yet a vastly different group of boys,” Mr Myles said.

The Year 7 Camp is the precursor to the Leeuwin Adventure in Year 8 and a stepping-stone towards Venture – Christ Church’s ultimate camping expedition experience in Year 10.