Its expedition week on the program and we are all rearing and ready to go for these next three incredible days!
We picked up the students and made our way to the Goulburn river at Ghin Ghin to meet with Kelto, Pagey and Tim from Rubicon. The car ride there was quick and painless which helped set us up for a good day! Once we arrived we met with the Rubicon crew and got stuck into packing our bags into waterproof bags. On this camp we will be making our way down the river and will stay at two separate camp sites. This means that all our gear needs to be with us in the canoes and everything needs to be waterproof and tucked away. After packing efficiently we set our goals for the week which was based around character strengths and practised our skills on the water. After Kelto was happy with how we paddled and followed safety instructions we started our journey. It was incredibly warming to see how well everyone took to this activity. We all were comfortable with our partners, were paddling safety and unbelievably made this day on the water last as long as it could. On this camp we were able to give the young people control over where we stayed along the river and how long we paddled for/took breaks for. After one capsize and rescue and a group discussion on how far we will keep moving down the river we settled on a camp site and set up our beds for the night. Due to getting to the site quite late the night went quickly as we cooked, debriefed the day and went straight to bed.
Thursday we woke up by the river and with a spring in our step. Everyone showed a lot of zest throughout this trip and it was really prominent the moment we woke up. We had breakfast, packed up all our gear and got straight on the water. Over the three days we made it a challenge with everyone to paddle with a different person every time we got on the water. For everyone this wasn't an issues as we we were able to switch things up and make out way down the river safely. After a few hours on the river and a stop at a 100+ year old grave site we stopped at a suitable and agreed upon lunch spot to eat and take a dip in the river. With credit to the young people they are great at being organised and listening to instruction. Brendon, the Rubcion crew and I were able to trust them to explore and enjoy the river and outdoors with little intervention. It was great to see people taking this lunch stop as an opportunity to swim and engage. After chowing down we got back in our canoes and made our way to a highlight spot on this camp. Kelto called this spot a 'bolder playground' as the river was scattered with massive boulders to play and climb on. Having made good time canoeing and seeing everyone enthusiasm we parked our canoes and got into the water. After having played here for roughly 45 minutes we got back in our canoes and paddled the final part of the river to our final camp site. Once here we set up our tents, took another sneaky dip, had dinner and went to bed ready for our final day.
Friday everyone woke determined to pack and leave on time. With full admiration to everyone we packed up in a record time and left a full hour earlier than expected. This morning was a quick paddle as we only have roughly 4km left. In compassion to the 18km we did the day before the morning flew and before we knew it we were pulling the canoes out of the water and up a hill to load onto the car. Due to our early arrival we had a bit of time to kill before Tim arrived with the cars so we utilised this opportunity and organised our things and debriefed the camp. During this debrief everyone spoke about how they went on their goals and on the camp overall. Kelto, Pagey, Brendon and I thought everyone did extremely well and it was great to see everyone feel the same. Some of the goals we all worked on were around staying positive on the camp, being organised, being motivated and having a growth mindset. Over the three days we endured having no showers and toilets and we didn't hear any complaints. This was replaced by comments around how well everyone was getting along, how incredible this opportunity was and how beautiful the environment was (during the day on the river by spotting platypus and admiring the river banks and at night by stare gazing). Everyone remained positive throughout the whole camp and had a high amount of zest. After this reflection we packed everything up, had a quick lunch and made our way home to shower, sleep and utilise running water.