The Bush Cadets camp in May was a great mix of personal challenges and successes with a number of opportunities for growth thrown in.
We ‘camped’ in the luxurious dorms at Nanga Bush camp in Dwellingup and feasted on superb food, to a point it almost defies the definition of camping, but we all enjoyed it and I guess that’s what really mattered.
The camp started on a high, when we tackled the challenges of the 19 metre high climbing wall and both the 10 and 18 metre high abseiling walls. This was a new achievement for some and a big confidence builder for others.
One student’s comment at the end of the camp was that at the start, he had been scared to abseil down the 18 metre wall. He had a new confidence after he had conquered the wall. This was not isolated to one student, but repeated by many of the students.
Where-as Caleb proved to be quite the avid climber scaling the 19 metre climbing wall seven times, the last time in a race, narrowly being defeated by Mr Phipps.
We did have to survive the very cold 2.4 degree night time temperatures. Fortunately we were allowed to build a small fire in a fire pit near the dorm, allowing us to gather around sharing the warmth, swapping stories and playing some very funny games during the evening hours.
We had some team and character building times, (like doing dishes and cleaning up) and times when a challenge was put in front of us for each of us to grow as a leader.
Canoeing was fun, but would have been more fun if it had been in the afternoon. As it was, it was in the mid-morning and the temperature was above 2.5 degrees but not by much, and yet everybody still enjoyed it. Mrs Murray was secretly scared that she would be tipped out and so she paddled fast to keep out of everyone’s way. We certainly got a laugh when one of the canoes started to sink. You have never seen two boys paddle so hard, but go so slow.
In the afternoon, we tried our hand at an attempt to survive in the bush. We built shelters, a stretcher and attempted to start a fire without matches and concluded it was harder than it looked. Bear Grills is much more clever than he looks. And making a fire with two sticks is hard work; all we could manage was a little smoke but no flames or embers.
The last day we did a hike, UP A MOUNTIAN (emphasis intended). It was really hard work climbing the steep slopes that seemed to go on for ever but the view at the top was spectacular and totally worth the effort. Climbing to the top took a long time and we started to run out of time to return to camp (in time to get to our bus home) so we had to take the fast way down, straight down. That was a lot of fun.
Back at the camp, we cleaned up, had lunch climbed on the bus and rested our weary bodies on the way home. Happy and with a new sense of self confidence, we made it back to school and now look forward to the next camp.