Words From The Road

I'm writing this week's article on the road as I visit the many and varied Senior Campus camps spread across Victoria. It has been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to spend a short amount of time with some of our Junior and Senior Homestead Camps. Each camp I visited had its own unique experiences in beautiful Victorian coastal towns and villages. And, yes, I did focus my tour on Victoria's coastline, from South Gippsland to Anglesea, a decision which may have been influenced by my passion for surfing.

There are so many great stories and reflections from this week, and I would like to commend Adam Liddiard and Marketing Trainee Harry Robertson for the wonderful social media posts we have all enjoyed this week. Homestead Camp Week has been an excellent reminder of the value of the experiences that students have here at Woodleigh. These experiences create opportunities for our students to further develop their relationships – relationships with each other, relationships with their teachers and their relationship with our country.

As a teacher, I greatly value the opportunity to spend time with students outside of the school environment, to see them through a different lens and also for them to see me through a different lens. This is how we create connections and enhance our sense of belonging to Woodleigh – our School and our home away from home.

As a teacher, this is also how I learn about our students' strengths, strengths that may not be obvious or relevant in the classroom. Things like sharing a Prom wave with Ben, Callum and Charlotte led me to realise how at home they are in the surf. Creating beautiful meals in a drizzly bush setting with the kids from Homestead 6, having been taught how to make gyoza from scratch, was a levelling, human moment. I found myself discussing the importance of crabs in a marine ecosystem and discovering dinosaur fossils with the students from Homestead 2. My Uno skills got a brush-up from the expert Uno players at Phillip Island as we discussed the merits of grilling crayfish for dinner. I enjoyed a tour of the fort at Queenscliff with Homestead 7 students and discussed the best technique for paddling a kayak with the gang from Homestead 4. These were my brief and limited experiences from the week, so I can only imagine the depth of connection our students have developed with each other and staff throughout the week.

Michael Norman's quote, "We ought never to do for young people, what they, with a struggle, could be expected do for themselves," certainly rang true this week. Students had to organise their accommodation, food and cooking; they had to support one another, and, most importantly, they were responsible for their outlook towards the week.

Whilst it is hard to imagine that there was much of a struggle for students in the magnificent locations they visited, each of them would have experienced some degree of challenge throughout the week. Something they hadn't tried before, working with someone they didn't know very well and having to work as part of a community for the week. Each of these challenges would have been an excellent opportunity for growth, and after the last two years, these experiences are more important than ever.

Back on Campus, the Year 9 and Year 10 students deserve congratulations for their work in the Young Change Agents program this week. I was fortunate to be a judge for their final presentations and was in awe of the passion and commitment they showed toward developing a social enterprise. I wish them well for their upcoming experiences at Hattah and Falls Creek. Both of which will build on their growth from this week.

Finally, my sincerest thanks go to our teachers, non-teaching staff and casuals who have worked tirelessly this week to create these amazing opportunities for our Senior Campus students.

Have a happy long weekend, and take this opportunity to rest and prepare for the final few weeks of term.

Stay safe,