2019 High School Camp in Albany

Tess Hawke, one of our Pre-Primary teachers, is currently on long service leave, so with their parent hats on, she and her husband John signed up as volunteers on the secondary camp. Here is Tess’s reflection on the week away:

I’ve never gone on a school camp before, let alone a high school camp with 29 teenagers. So, to say it as a learning curve would be an understatement. The amount of time, organisation and patience Sharyn Morrell and Shirley Wallis have is astounding and I have the highest of praise for the two of them in working with teenagers daily, let alone five days on a camp. Just imagine having your one teenager and 28 of their friends in your house for the week? Thought provoking 😊 to recommend particular sanctions in each case, depending on relevant factors.

Now saying that, this experience was also amazing as I got to know this diverse group of young adults and how they interact with each other and the adults around them. The first day of camp had adrenaline, excitement and the unknown mixed together, which did create some interesting moments of re-establishing that this was a ‘school’ camp and that there were still rules that everyone had to abide by. As I said to a few, “Your parents have entrusted us with your welfare, so we need to bring 29 teenagers back with 90% of their skin intact and all digits”.

Once they all settled into the routine of camp life then I got to watch and be truly amazed at how much these young people launched into the new experiences presented to them. For some just being away from home for the week was an amazing achievement, for others it was to swim in a freezing ocean out to the pylon and back, for some it was climbing a huge tree or going on the 60 & 90m flying foxes and so many other opportunities that they may never have had before. Those small and large achievements were wonderful to observe, and I am very grateful to have been able to share them with the students.

On a final note, I just wanted to thank my husband John, who bravely put his hand up to drive the bus to, around and back from Albany and navigate all those round-a-bouts and surprising speed humps. Also, to thank Mrs Nunn for being there for those young adults who need someone to chat to, to give them an encouraging high five or just a smile at 6am.

It is an amazing, exhausting and exceptional experience which gives you a whole new understanding of being a teenager in today’s world. Thanks! Tess Hawke