After an interesting experience last year where COVID-19 restrictions occurred in the middle of the annual Year 9 Summit Camp, we again found ourselves back in Trafalgar for a full week of fun and challenging activities from 22-26 March.
The rationale of the Summit Camp is to encourage students to challenge themselves and, in so doing, experience a real sense of accomplishment and success. The language of the camp is “target, stretch, super stretch”. In other words, students are encouraged to set a target for themselves in relation to each activity, and if they achieve that target, to stretch beyond that and, again, push themselves even further. What this looks like for each student is different. For some, just putting a harness on and considering climbing up ladders to the abseiling platform is challenging enough. For others, hanging upside down 20 metres off the ground is their base challenge. The entire camp is structured around pushing students out of their comfort zones while still maintaining a supportive and understanding environment. It works well.
The camp ran in two halves with Year 9 Blue, Gold, Green, Jade and Silver attending the first half of the week and Year 9 Bronze, Orange, Purple, Red, and White on site in the second half. Both the College staff and the Summit coaches were very impressed with how the students not only embraced the entire experience individually but also encouraged each other. Each student participated in 10 different group activities and as they progressed the students grew closer together within their homerooms and became much more vocal and compassionate in their support of each other. No student left the camp without having experienced at least one personal success and most experienced many.
Once again, the Summit program showed its value and, in this initial year of the Compass program, reinforced many of the lessons we are trying to teach our young men and women about effort, leadership, teamwork, resilience and fun. Well done to everyone involved, including the very dedicated team of 24 teachers who supported the camp staff and the 260 students in this fantastic experience.
Below are some student reflections from the camp:
I looked up at the intimidating abseil tower. At first, I thought that I wouldn’t go up, but I was determined to have no regrets. After embracing my fear I gradually went up to the top, I had done the worst part. It looked scarier than it actually was! Some activities really pushed my strength and endurance, and sometimes I felt like I would not finish without letting people down and getting hurt, but my tribe hyped me up and helped me get to the end, and it was great. I aimed to see the fun in everything. Nothing beats the feeling of relief and admiration for yourself after you have done something you were almost not going to do. My favourite activity was the giant swing. Riding the tank was probably the highlight. I enjoyed crushing the car. As we left I knew I had accomplished more than I thought.
— Denisse Lopez Garza (Year 9 Orange)
Our time at the Summit Camp was short lived but loaded with heaps of activities, and I wasn’t bored once. I think we’d all be lying if we said we didn’t face at least one challenge there that we had to push ourselves to overcome. I saw kids who were afraid of heights and soon enough they were looking like 'pros' flying down the abseiling wall. I saw kids who didn’t need the help, yet they shared their support with the people who did. I think we all learned at least one thing from this camp, and I would do it all over again.
— Mia Story (Year 9 Gold)