Published on: 11 October 2013

Boys took even greater ownership of their outdoor education experience throughout Terms 2 and 3 as part of the Year 9 Camp at Kooringal. Director of Kooringal Dave Anderson said the focus of Christ Church’s outdoor education program was always firmly on the journey.

“The boys undertake a unique journey during their time at Kooringal, many start thinking it is all about the physical aspect but many leave knowing that the physical is just a vessel for the emotional and mental journey they are part of,” Mr Anderson said.

The Year 9 Camp, held over 10 days out of Kooringal, prepares boys for the pinnacle of their outdoor education journey – the Year 10 Venture. In Year 9, the boys complete a five-day expedition and a 15-hour solo night on the final evening, which aims to equip them for the following year’s 11-day journey.

Mr Anderson said there had been some additions to the Year 9 program this year. He said there was a greater focus on boys taking ownership of their journey and experiencing the true consequences of their actions.

“We are providing less service and teaching them more – giving them greater responsibility for their actions. They cook all their own main meals, learn to dehydrate a meal and then rehydrate the meal on the expedition as well as packing their own food,” Mr Anderson said. “If they get it wrong, they pay the consequences. It’s providing boys with a holistic experience.”

Another new addition has been the introduction of the Kooringal Shield to the traditional rogaining experience. All boys compete for the shield in a randomly selected team and must work together in a six-hour long rogaine. “The shield goes to the best overall rogaine team – those who work together the best tend to achieve,” he said.

Mr Anderson said while all camps at Kooringal include a community service component, the Year 9 Camp now included an introduction to permaculture. He said all Year 9 boys had been involved in rebuilding the property’s chicken pen, now affectionately dubbed the Taj, as well as the planting of a mini orchard of semi-mature fruit trees.

“The boys have been involved in the whole process, starting with cutting out black wattle and non-indigenous plants, digging the holes for the trees and pen posts and getting timbers into the ground, to stringing fences.”

The boys have also created a significant garden area, which will grow a portion of the centre’s vegetable needs. “It is all about teaching the boys how the environment interrelates and what is involved in the production of our produce,” he said.

Mr Anderson said through projects like these, the boys could see how the journey evolves over the years. “From the start of their journey in Year 7, or Year 5 for others, they can see they are creating future experiences for themselves and for other boys.”