Five days spent outside the classroom. Four activities completed by each group. Three different flavours of tuna. Two days walked with a pack on their back. One lucky group experienced both the wind and the gorse.
Just how functional is a Year 9 boy after walking 15 km with a pack on his back? Will it help if he has to climb a large hill in the middle? Gorse?
During the inaugural Outdoor Education Week, our Year 9 boys were given the unique opportunity to answer these questions. Initially, a distinct lethargy was noticeable. However, spirits revived quickly, and tents were organised, cooking groups assigned, dinner cooked and a few billies even met with scrubbing bushes.
As well as continuing with the McGlashan theme of developing grit and resilience, the boys were given the opportunity to learn many important life skills over this week.
For example, when in survival situations, one may need to fend for oneself. Fishing is a great way to source food. Casting a fishing lure into a severe headwind is, therefore, important. This must be followed immediately by walking back ten meters to retrieve said lure from a tree. (At the same point in time, Mr Mike Brown was busy holding down the lighter members of his tramping group on an exposed ridge top.)
Students also spent time covering the use of topographic maps for navigation. Other key navigation concepts were covered, such as determining which teachers are "good at geology" and so should know better than to lead the class astray in Ross Creek.
The importance of thorough reconnaissance was also investigated. Mr Brown had carefully scouted the tramp, turning around only one kilometre before the top, at which point he could see that the remaining track "looked great". Who would have thought the recent track clearing efforts had been abandoned only 50 metres further around the corner? Gorse.
Our boys also had the opportunity to spend a day working in the Craigieburn Forest Reserve (above Ross Creek). Huge thanks must go to Mr Paul Pope, from the Dunedin Amenities Society, who helped to coordinate this. If you have not yet had the privilege of exploring this area, I encourage you to get your sons to guide you as it is a beautiful location.
I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank-you to all the staff and parents who gave up their time to make this week possible. Also to the boys who got stuck in, gritted their teeth when the going got tough and made it all worthwhile.