MacKillop girls build resilience at the Year 9 Camp


With bags packed, tents ready and enough food to feed a small army, the Year 9 cohort ventured to the Woodhouse Activity Centre in the Adelaide Hills for the inaugural Year 9 Camp. With a Pastoral Care focus around building resilience and taking risks this year, the camp hoped to provide students with opportunities to challenge and push themselves with a variety of activities that most had never undertaken, while also building a sense of pride and belonging to their Pastoral Care Class.

The first challenge for many came in the form of the sleeping arrangements. Cabins and dorms are too comfortable and so to challenge the girls, tents were arranged for the night. Setting these up proved to be very entertaining for staff and students alike, however within the hour, 30 tents were up and ready to be our homes away from home.

With the sleeping quarters set it was time to take on Challenge Hill and compete for the Penola Shield. In classes, students tested themselves as they climbed, crawled, leaped and swung from activity to activity. For some, the risk taking and resilience came from climbing a height, or crawling through a dark enclosed space. For others, risk taking took the form of trusting another student to lead them to safety. Having completed Challenge Hill, the girls then competed in some games. The competition between classes was fierce, there were soccer balls and footballs flying left, right and centre. After the final round of tug of war, 9 Red was declared the winners of the first Penola Shield Challenge.

As the day drew to a close and the temperature began to drop, the cohort shared dinner and some reflection time together.  Writing letters to themselves, the girls looked back on all they had accomplished so far in 2016 and what they hoped to achieve moving forward.

With it well and truly night time now it was time for a night walk. Rugged up in our best hoodies and track pants we set off singing and dancing our way around the property. Everyone knows you don’t get much sleep on a school camp. A mixture of excitement, a different bed and having your best friend right next to you is an easy distraction to falling asleep. The Year 9s were no exception to this rule with most too excited to sleep. A piece of advice Year 9s: everyone can hear your conversations in a tent no matter how quiet you think you are.

Throughout the night we survived scares from spiders, moths, bugs and worms. We also survived what was a very cold night.

Eventually the sun came up and with that so were we. After a quick breakfast and clean-up of the campsite it was time again to take on something new. The rest of the day was spent orienteering and mountain bike riding. Like Challenge Hill, the girls were challenged to take on something they had never done and for some it was their first time on a bike. Before long the girls had mastered the gears and brakes and were flying down hills and along tracks.

On behalf of the staff, we hope all the girls had a wonderful time, that they had the opportunity to try something new and whether or not they were successful, we hope they learnt just a little bit more about themselves.

Lauren Sutton
Year 9 Pastoral Care Coordinator