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Term 1 Week 4 2022

Hi everyone!

This week we had our first camp of the program at the Cathedral Ranges!

On Wednesday we spent the morning at Eltham Leisure Centre with instructor Brad and co-staff John, working on our fitness programs that was individually designed and tailored for each student. The young people were introduced to their regimes and how to effectively and safely use the equipment in the gym before they had free rein. The students were respectful and engaged well. We are excited to see the progress throughout the next few weeks! We then spent some time addressing the expectations of camp and learning about the importance of self-sufficiency and our mindsets. This hike camp is designed to be at times a little challenging so that the young people are able to build on their character strengths, such as perseverance, leadership and self-regulation. We also spoke about how we can change our mindset to be more positive when we experience low resilience responses. Having a growth mindset over a fixed mindset helps improve success and empowers people to believe they can develop their abilities. For the afternoon we went to Edendale Farm and we were introduced to Jo who has been working there for a very long time. We did a community project with her where we helped with some gardening, pruning the bushes and adding mulch to the garden. The young people did very well considering it was a hot afternoon out in the sun. We then got to feed the chooks and visit the goats. Jo showed us how to milk a goat and the entire time she was sharing her knowledge about native plans, the animals, sustainable living etc which was really insightful. During our debrief, it was great to hear the students talk about how good it feels to help out the community and how they used a growth mindset when they were finding it challenging being outside in the heat and working.

On Thursday morning we went back to CAS to pack everything we needed for our camp and then loaded up the bus and trailer, ready to head to the Cathedral Ranges. We started at Sugarloaf Saddle and took the Messmate Track to Cooks Mill and followed through on the Little River Track to our final destination - Neds Gully. The young people took turns in leading throughout the hike and did a great job in those roles. The walk to camp was around 7kms and we were lucky to have nice weather. We focused on building high resilience responses and each student managed to show that multiple times on the hike. There was encouragement between the peers which was nice to see. Once we arrived at our campsite, the students had a well deserved break before putting up their tents. We had a kick around with the ball, some people went for a dip in the river and others relaxed in the hammock before we cracked on with dinner. For dinner we had tacos which went down a treat! And for dessert we roasted marshmallows around the campfire and made s'mores :) For our debrief session we sat around the campfire and students were asked to identify at least one character strength they used on the hike, and acknowledge other people for their helpful efforts for the day. Students individually discussed what they were finding challenging at school and received helpful advice from their peers. It was also great listening to everyone's highlights of the day. All students did well at participating and engaging in conversation . Everyone was pretty wrecked afterwards, so off to bed we went!

On Friday morning we spent the morning packing up our camp and having breakfast before we walked up to Neds peak where we had such an amazing view! It was a fairly steep climb but we made it! The students' efforts were commendable. We had a mindfulness session at the peak where we all sat in silence, focusing on using all our senses and appreciating the beauty of nature. The students did a great job pushing through the challenging hike and encouraging each other. Once back at the bottom of the mountain, we made wraps for lunch and cleaned up the campsite. We jumped on the bus and made our way back to Melbourne. The young people were laughing and singing to the music, clearly showing they have created delightful bonds already! :) It was a great end to our camp.


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