by Ruby Baum, Jackson Glover, Kieran McMahon, Rosy Jones and Aidan Burkitt
The Duke of Edinburgh camp was a great experience for all of us who were taking part in the award classifications, as well as for the five international students who came with us. We will treasure and be grateful for this experience forever.
We left from school on Monday 28 November at 9.00 am and ventured for six hours to the village of Bogong. We went from the urban scene to farms and paddocks and all the way to mountains surrounded by forests. Upon pulling up to the Bogong School we noticed it was nothing like FCC. The school was outdoors with only a few buildings for sleeping and eating, on a huge mountain and surrounded by luscious flora and fauna. On the first day, we settled in and were given a tour. We were also greeted by Eaglehawk Secondary College, who were the other school attending the camp. That first night of our stay, the chef (Phil) cooked a lovely chicken breast with vegetables and lemon gravy. We were able to share the dinner with Eaglehawk in the dining room. After dinner we had our first activity, which was a sustainability walk around campus and found facts about the area’s animals, history or ways to be sustainable. The day ended by watching a movie, then off to bed.
The second day began with our morning duties, getting ready, then eating breakfast. Our first activity of the day was abseiling and rock climbing. We learned how to abseil and rock climb safely on a wall roughly 12 metres high. We were also taught how to belay a person while they climbed up and down the wall. After this activity was lunch, then we all headed down to Lake Guy where we went canoeing and on a river walk up the stream. A lot of the rocks were a little unstable but that didn't deter from the fun. By this time it was around 4.00 p.m. which meant free time. So most of us had showers and then played games of uno, cheat and celebrity heads. By then it was 6.00 pm and time for dinner. Not many of us ate all of our dinner because we were trying to learn a magic trick that the chef taught us with corks. After a long hard day, we prepared for the hike the next day and went to sleep.
The hike and overnight camp were the main part of the Duke of Edinburgh award qualifications. It was 8 kms from Pretty Valley to the camping site with many hills and and things to cross, but we all helped each other, which made it a lot easier and much more fun. However, the highlight of the hike was finding a patch of snow about 1 km from the camp site. It was small, but seeing a patch of snow in Australia on the last day of spring is almost unheard of. We had snowball fights, made snow angels and slid on the snow as if it was a slide. Once we arrived at the campsite, we set up camp. The night went fast for some because a few slept quite well, but for others it was one long night.
The last day was certainly a memorable one. We returned to the snow one last time, had snowball fights on the first day of summer and then headed off on another 2.4 km walk to a cliff where we rock climbed and abseiled one last time before heading back to Bogong for a much needed shower. Later on that night, we had a reflection task with Eaglehawk where had to share our favourite moments at camp. We shared many laughs then.
The experience was one that all of us will carry in our hearts for a long time. From making memories of friends, sliding into rivers to valuable lessons about life. We would like to make a few thank yous before this article is finished. First we would like to thank the staff of Bogong Outdoor School because they made the experience 10 times better than we had all expected. Thank you to Eaglehawk Secondary College, they made us laugh and added to the fun of the camp. The international students who came on the trip with us deserve a massive thank you for being awesome, putting up with us and trying to teach us Vietnamese. And finally, thank you to our teachers Claudia Esquivel and Michael Hardiker for taking a week out of their lives to take us on the camp. All of the Duke of Edinburgh students would certainly recommend the camp to anyone who has the opportunity to attend it. It's certainly worth it.