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Banyule/Nillumbik 2016 Week Five

I know I say it every week but week 5 was another great one on the program, and one in particular where we really saw a lot of team work and leadership skills come out in every member of the group.

Wednesday morning was spent at JETS studio for our second and final music session. Josh and Simon worked together with the students (and staff) to each write a rap about 'a day in the life'. We were able to use this verse to let people know what a day in our life is like, with most using it as a positive opportunity to vent some frustrations. We recorded these raps in the studio before laying them down over a track. Everyone put in a lot of effort for this session and the final result sounded fantastic!

Wednesday afternoon was our final session with Liz from headspace, but instead of heading to the headspace office we spent the afternoon out in the beautiful sun. Our session was based around physical activity and we went for a really nice walk, before looking at what physical activity we do in our lives and what small things we could add. We also reflected on our own self care techniques, which are really important for looking after both our mental and physical health and wellbeing.

After a slight change of plans from our expected program, we spent Thursday out canoeing on the Yarra river in Kew/Fairfield. Although the students weren't expecting it for the day's activity, they were all flexible and keen to get out on the water. Canoeing is a challenging activity, as it's impossible to achieve success without working cohesively with the other person in your boat. It can also be very frustrating, and teaches students the importance of being aware of your tone and body language when working with others. The students all embraced this challenge and worked wonderfully together to paddle up to Fairfield Boathouse for lunch, and back to our starting point with a different partner.

Friday was one of the biggest days on the program, both in length and in challenge. We spent the day caving at Labertouche, around 1.5 hours from Melbourne. At the cave, we put on harnesses and were lowered down one by one into the cave entrance, a distance of about 8 metres. This can be the most challenging part of caving for some, having no idea what to expect. We spent the next couple of hours moving through the boulderous cave as a group, using every part of our body. The students all worked fantastically together and supported each other through direction, assistance and communication. Everyone overcame their anxieties and put in a big effort.

Lastly, this week we also had a mid program info night for parents. It was a great opportunity to catch up with parents and give some feedback on how their son/daughter is travelling on the program. It also provided parents with a space to engage and support each other. Luke from HealthAbility came along to the session to let us all know some of the great programs and resources available in the area. Thanks to all who were able to make it!

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