At St Michael’s, we see our Outdoor Education Program as an integral part of the learning journey. Its emphasis is on personal growth through outdoor experiences, and each year level has a specific theme, which for Year 7 is ‘Friends and Foundation’.
For many in the cohort, Year 7 Exodus was their first Outdoor Education experience. The aim was for students to build relationships, introduce a solid foundation of outdoor skills and develop a connection with the natural environment.
We were excited to see a full cohort get out on Exodus for the first time this year. After the lockdowns over 2020 and 2021, it is more important than ever for our students to get out and reconnect with the natural world and each other.Mr Sam Roberts, Outdoor Education Coordinator
On a Monday morning in March, Year 7 set off for a five-day adventure at Iluka Retreat on the Mornington Peninsula, approximately 100km south-east of Melbourne. The students spent five days with their House-based tutorial group, accompanied by representatives from St Michael’s and the Outdoor Education Group (OEG). Allowing the students to form a strong connection with their House community is important, as those peers will be a key support network for students throughout their St Michael’s experience.
Together, students bushwalked and hiked along the coast, and learnt new skills including stand-up paddle boarding, raft building, cooking and camping.
The year seven camp was such an amazing experience, from hiking 15km, to rafting, and sleeping in tents. The highlights for me were being able to do so many new things, meeting new people, becoming closer to friends, and showing house spirit.Violet (7H)
Throughout all the fun, students bonded in their House groups and were empowered to develop a sense of responsibility.
“This camp helped us to learn very important survival and safety skills, and other new experiences. We had different jobs assigned when we got there, including leadership, cleaning up, and cooking.” – Violet (7H)
Alongside the Year 7 cohort, a group of Year 11 students were invited to attend the Exodus as Peer Support Student Leaders. Throughout the week, the Student Leaders assisted with activities, helped the Year 7 students to form relationships, and passed on their knowledge from previous Outdoor Education programs.
Year 7 Exodus was one of the best camp experiences I have had. It was really lovely watching the new students build their friendships with each other over the course of the week, how comfortable they became with one another, and how many students overcame struggles and strengthened their independence and confidence.Mia (11K)
“I was glad to see everyone enjoy themselves despite the weather and constantly having wet socks! It was also amazing to see the Year 7 students work together so well and learn so much.” – Henry (11B).
In the following days back at school, students reflected on their Exodus experiences through classroom discussions and activities. It was evident that the sense of camaraderie gained on camp has permeated regular life at St Michael’s.
“The House felt like family for the week, and the relationships I now have with the other Year 11s, the staff involved, and the younger students has created a really nice network that has carried on into the school environment.”– Mia (11K)
“I met so many new friends and got to hang out with the Year 11s.” – Violet (7H)
Students in Years 7 can now look forward to their three-day Journey Skills adventure in Term 4.