Hi all! Welcome to the first blog for our Term 1 program! Although it's a short term, it's going to be jam packed with activities, and at the end of the first week we're already into the swing of things.
We started off the program at Yarra Youth Centre, where we played a few ice breaker games and started to get to know each other better. After the students were feeling more comfortable with each other, we formed a group 'code of conduct'. The students all voted to decide the five most important values to them as a group were respect, honesty, organisation, team work and communication. The students also formed school goals to focus on when they have regular classes on Mondays & Tuesdays. This is a really important part of the program and students are supported to work on them throughout the term.
The afternoon of our first day was spent preparing for camp. The students packed all the necessary camping equipment into their hiking packs, and we loaded up the mountain bikes onto the trailer. The group also learnt how to set up a trangia, the camping stove they'll be using to cook dinner on the camp.
After picking up all the students on Thursday morning, we did a final check that we had all the equipment we needed before jumping on the Newstart bus and heading to the You Yangs. The You Yangs State Park is a popular location for walking and mountain biking and it's a great location for our first camp. After lunch, we put on our hiking packs and headed up the hill for a 8km walk to our campsite. The students all worked really together and walked at a fantastic pace. Because of this we were able to also go up to the top of Flinders Peak, adding an extra couple of kilometres to the walk. It was worth it for the view, and a fantastic group decision.
Once we arrived at our campsite, the students spent time setting up their tents. This is often a really challenging activity, especially when the students are not familiar with the tent set up and are exhausted after the hike. They all worked together however to get the tents up and standing, before cooking dinner. After dinner clean up, we were able to have a campfire and marshmallows. We really enjoy having a fire to sit around on camp, as it's a good space to discuss as a group what our goals are and how we can support each other.
On Friday morning after breakfast and packing up the campsite, we set off on our mountain bikes to explore some of the fantastic tracks the You Yangs has to offer. We spent the morning riding before heading home after lunch. During both the hiking and bike riding activities, the students takes on the role of being leader. This role is to ensure the group is travelling well together as a team, and supporting and encouraging each other. Everyone had a go at being the leader and did very well, with many positive attributes displayed.
Overall it was a great week and we're looking forward to the rest of the program!