Welcome everyone to Term 4! We have a lot of fun and engaging activities planned for the students this term and know that its going to be a cracking time! We are fortunate enough to work with a range of different service providers who support us greatly throughout the term. We thank everyone for their contribution and hope you enjoy this blog.
Its the first day of the program and it started off with a bang as everyone arrived on time at Eltham station. We said our hellos and drove straight to HealthAbility to start our day. It was great to see everyone getting along with each other and introducing themselves without prompt from Brendon and I. Once at HealthAbility we used this momentum and got straight into some get to know you activities. Some of these included finding groups based on similar interests (like movies or tv-shows) and then presenting this back to the group. After we had all settled in we sat as a group and set our group code of conduct. This code is a set of values that we all decide together and agree to abide by throughout the term. This term our code of conduct is Attitude, honesty, trust, kindness and respect. Having set the tone for the term we then went to Eltham Leisure centre to met with Jordan and participate in our first gym lesson. We got to the gym, said hello to Jordan who we will be seeing a lot this term and started moving our bodies with a game of basketball. We also gave the group a challenge with a tennis ball to get it through everyone hands in the quickest time. With two goes under their belt this group was able to work together to achieve out best time yet! After accomplishing this we then had a tour of the leisure centre, played more basketball and called it a day.
On Thursday after picking up the students from Collingwood we headed down to the Kokoda trail memorial walk also known as the 1000 steps located in the Dandenong Ranges. Before the walk Brendan gave us a short history lesson on the second world war and the significance of the Kokoda Trail. We then discussed the importance of high resilience and low resilience responses and suggested to the group how high resilience responses such as “this is tough but how beautiful are the surroundings” or “this exercise is so good for me” can help build morale and make the journey easier and more enjoyable for others. We then filled our water bottles and then set off for the top. Along the way different students were given the role of team leader. We discussed the role of a leader within the group with specific focus on support and ensuring everyone is ready before commencing with the hike. A part of this discussion involved talking about the importance of staying together as a group. Upon the walk we took breaks where necessary and when possible in areas where we could stop with a great view of the south east suburbs. At the top we took a group photo before introducing the four core values of the ANZACs being mateship, courage, endurance and sacrifice and we explored how these were relevant to us and the hike as well as connecting them to our values with operation Newstart. From here we headed to the bottom, once there we familiarised ourselves more with some of the information around WWII that is provided before jumping on the bus where we had lunch on our war towards Trees Adventure. Trees Adventure was a short drive away, once we were there we received a safety briefing and some training drills before we were set loose to explore the different tree surfing courses. Each course varied I difficulty and presented with different challenges that tested our bravery, communication and balancing skills. Prior to commencing some of the group was clearly nervous about performing acts at such heights however everyone took on the challenge and as we concluded it was evident that the students had had an awesome time and there confidence in themselves had increased.
Friday started off with two sets of volleyball which saw two massive comeback victories resulting in the two selected sides finishing with a set a piece and early signs of another great Australian sporting rivalry forming. Following this we stepped into the classroom at Collingwood Alternative school, the home base of Operation Newstart. The students partook in a workshop about character strengths, these are 24 different skills and abilities that everyone naturally processes. Students were asked to examine these and look for examples in their lives where they have seen or demonstrated some of them. Following this the students took an online test to help them identify their strongest strengths before starting on setting their personal and educational goals for the next 8 weeks. Before lunch we stopped to pack our bags in preparation for our hiking camp in two weeks time discussing along the way the importance of packing light and strategies to achieve this. We then jumped in the bus and had our lunch on our way towards Melbourne Polytechnic. Here we participated in a TAFE tester to do with landscaping. Before beginning we met with Ash who and discussed the purpose of TAFE particularly in relation to completing a trade. Ash then took the students into the workshop where he ran them through a practical tutorial, the students were taught how to lay bricks and techniques were followed that helped them align them correctly. The students did an awesome job and Ash was very impressed with how they had set up their first paving project. Overall it was a great first week that set a high standard for how the rest of the term will be.