We really love running programs at this time of year as the weather is starting to get much nicer and daylight savings helps us out a lot on camps. This week was no exception. We started the week off with a beautiful bike ride in Eltham with Luke from HealthAbility, utilising the great Diamond Creek Trail before going on some more adventurous little tracks along the Yarra. There were plenty of puddles and although the sky was clear I don't know if anyone managed to stay completely dry! It was lots of fun and the group rode well together, demonstrating some great supportive skills.
Wednesday afternoon we headed to Bundoora for our first music session at Jets Studio. Jets is a fantastic youth facility that's all about creating and celebrating creative arts. They have a wide range of equipment and skills, which any young people are able to use. We had a tour with Josh and Simon, a couple of the workers at Jets, before having free rein in the space. Popular activities included rocking out in the music studio on the instruments, playing the piano, having a go at the mixing decks and having a go at recording some lyrics and laying down a track to go with it. Everything sounded awesome and we're keen for our second session, where we're hoping the students will be able to put together a song about some of their life experiences. Can't wait!
Thursday morning brought the start of our first camp. The sun was shining and we were lucky to be out hiking in the warmest weather of the week. After making sure we had everything packed, we jumped on the bus and headed out to the You Yangs Regional Park. It's a well known park for mountain bike riding but also a great spot for some day walks and hikes. The group made a fantastic effort to get through the walk, enjoying the views and taking part in some activities along the way. Once we got to the campsite we were super impressed by how efficiently the students worked together to set up tents, cook dinner and get a fire going.
After a very windy night and a looming rain forecast, we packed up nice and early before getting out the bikes. We rode on a few different tracks throughout the park, with everyone able to build up their mountain biking skills. Despite getting hit by the rain, the ride was enjoyable and, once again, the students were really helpful and efficient and we were able to get away earlier than usual to enjoy a nice warm lunch back at Collingwood.
Thanks to Ben and Jordan who joined us for the camp this week as a part of their studies. It was great having you both on board and the students enjoyed getting to know some new faces!
I'd also like to take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to Eltham Rotary for their support in sponsoring four students this term. We are always incredibly grateful to the local community for assisting us in being able to run a great program for young people in the area, and this is no exception. Both the staff at Newstart and the students appreciate what this sponsorship allows. Thanks again to everyone at Eltham Rotary!