We're now halfway through the program and things are moving along well. Week 4 was spent with a great community day on Wednesday followed by surf camp the rest of the week.
We had the second of our gym sessions at Eltham YMCA with Jordan on Wednesday morning. We were able to use the time trying out a few different things the leisure centre has to offer, doing a circuit workout, boxing exercises and learning some of the cardio and weights machines in the gym. After the gym we headed up to Edendale Farm to help out for the afternoon. The students cleaned out a chicken coop and prepared it for a new group of young chickens to be housed in. Work like this really assists the busy Edendale staff and helps with the running of this great environmental resource in Eltham, and is really appreciated. Once all the hard work was done, we were able to visit the animals, playing with baby goats and getting to hold some tiny chickens.
Thursday started off with some terrible wet weather and more than a few questions of "do we have to swim in this?!" Luckily by the time we arrived down at Bancoora Beach it had completely eased off and we were able to fully appreciate the great location we're lucky to be able to stay in, at Bancoora Surf Life Saving Club. After checking out the accomodation and having lunch, everyone chucked on a wetsuit (a mission in itself sometimes) and headed out to check out the surf. After a quick lesson on the sand by our instructor from Torquay Surf Academy, everyone was straight out in the water for a couple of hours of surfing. Surfing can be a really challenging activity for many students, and it was really fantastic to see everyone really persevere through this and make the most of the opportunity.
After hot showers and a trip into Torquay to check out the surf shops, some of the students cooked up a delicious dinner and tacos and apple crumble which was greatly enjoyed by all. We did another reflection activity where students were able to share some of their school insights with each other and reflect on how they positively contribute to the group. Brendon and I use the evening of surf camp to have a mid term discussion with students individually to discuss their progress while the others play a game of pool and relax.
Sometimes the toughest thing about the Friday morning of surf camp is getting that wet wetsuit back on at 8am. Everyone did it with no compaints and we were out in the water really early for our second lesson, this time with Kev. The waves were perfect this morning for groups of our skill level and everyone had some really good rides. We had plenty of time in the water before heading back to the clubrooms for a final clean up and group lunch.
This week was a really good one for spending time in the local community as well as doing some things we don't often get the opportunity to do- like surfing. Now that we're halfway through the program it's nice to see the group bonding well and supporting each other. We're looking forward to watching this strengthen further over the next four weeks, particularly in some of our activities like caving.