Into the Wild.
Emotions run high when ten and eleven year old children go on camp. Especially when there are 130 Year 6 children going together. There is excitement and apprehension, and everything in between. On camp there are tears and laughter. Some children seem barely consolable one minute- tearful and homesick – and excited and involved the next.
The year 6 camp involved 4 days away, with 3 nights in a hotel near Kanchanaburi. Activities included hiking, and a swim below a waterfall. There were adventure activities such as a flying fox and a swing bridge. There was also a group challenge activity. Children could also choose biking, cooking, archery and rock climbing from a range of options.
Camp gives opportunities to all kids. It gives them opportunities to bond with their peers and make new friends. It also gives them opportunities to challenge themselves. For some this may be overcoming the fear of being away from family in a new and unfamiliar place. For others it may be trying new activities. A swing bridge is a cause of great excitement for many, for others it’s a source of fear and trepidation. For one child success is running across as fast as possible, for another it is finally getting across after twice falling in.
As a teacher who supports children who sometimes struggle the change is palpable. The tears of night two – when tiredness after two long days gets the better of many – gives way to the excitement of an action filled day three. The children who were sobbing and needed someone to talk through their fears last night, barely notice adults today. They are having too much fun, and they are making new friends.
These small steps towards independence make the (teacher’s) 18 hour days worthwhile. Once children have achieved something, they don’t look back, and hopefully the next challenge that they face will feel less daunting.