Its expedition week on the program! This week is one of our most important weeks as it is our three day camp and is our assessment week for the young people.
We picked everyone up from Collingwood station and brought them back to CAS to pack our bags. After covering the basics of what we will be doing we packed the essentials and made our way to Break Away Caravan Park. The drive there was pleasant and before we knew it we were saying hello to Pagey and Neil form Rubicon. After a quick introduction we started pumping up the canoes and packing everything we needed for the journey. It was great to see how efficient the group were in doing this and how great their teamwork skills are. We loaded everything up, set some goals for the week around character strengths and started our journey down the river. Given that we missed our canoeing day last Friday we had to spend the first half of the day covering skills needed while in white water. Everyone worked really hard to pick up the skills and travel down the first half of the river to our camp site. Once at the camp site we put up our tents, unpacked our bags and had some time to chill out. We then worked as a group to prepare and cook dinner and were eating under the setting sun before we knew it. We washed up, played a few games of mafia and then set off for bed.
Thursday we woke to the sun rising over the gushing river. We all got up and got stuck into packing our bags and packing down our tents. We had a quick breakfast and then started packing the canoes. At this campsite packing the canoes is a tough job as we have to walk down a steep hill to get to them and everything into the water. We all worked together as a team and before we knew it we were on the water and making our way to our second camp site. On the journey it was great to see everyone using the character strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence. All us of were able to marvel at the hill tops and enjoy the novelty of having cows look at us as we passed them by. As we stopped for lunch on the rivers edge this became more apparent as most of us took the opportunity to explore around and see what we could find. When the river got straight many of us used zest and took a dip in the river. On this camp we were blessed with perfect canoeing weather as we had sunshine and warmth. We had students swimming there way to the campsite and others jumping onto canoes to try and tip people in! We got to the campsite with lots of daylight left which allowed us to take in the scenery. Some of us went back into the water for a swim while others sat on the bank and chatted. We dug our toilet, prepared and cooked dinner, cleaned up, debriefed the day and went to bed ready for our final day tomorrow.
Friday woke with a promise of a beautiful sunrise that was sadly hidden behind clouds. None of us let this dampen our moods though as we packed up our bags and tents and had some breakfast. During this second morning the staff step back to let the students have control over the morning. This group took this in their stride and before we knew it the canoes were pumped, packed and ready to go. We got on the water determined to make it to the end with no injury or issues. This final stretch of the river is the shortest of the camp and before we knew it we were unloading the canoes from the river and packing our bags to head home. This final pack down is often the hardest to stay focused in as we are wet, smelly and wanting to go home. All of us managed to stay of task and got the job done in record time. Pagey and Neil from Rubicon facilitated the group well and during our final debrief were able to give the young people the space to provide and receive feedback on how they went. Everyone worked really hard on the areas that they were being assessed on and focused on their chosen character strength well. The camp ended with warm goodbyes to Pagey and Neil and after a quick pack down at CAS it came to an end with smiles on our faces.