Inspire ~ Empower ~ Challenge ~ Dream
All Year 10 students will attend camp in the week of 2 to 6 December. Camp is one of the lasting memories and rites of passage at Otago Girls’ High School. We are incredibly fortunate to have over half of our teachers who are very experienced in Outdoor Education and these teachers lead or go on camps year after year. In 2017 we undertook an external EOTC (Education Outside the Classroom) Audit and the assessors were extremely impressed by our programmes and processes – but even more by the long list of staff and their experience in taking students into the outdoors.
In an age of the overload of social media and rising mental health issues, it is more important than ever for students to go out into nature, to explore, to challenge themselves and to grow. The friendships and relationships, sense of teamwork and belonging are integral to them finding their place in the world. The experience of going beyond their comfort zone and being able to develop resilience and grit is more important than ever before. The downtime, fun and social interactions they have on camp teach them valuable communication and life skills.
This year, more than ever, we are grateful for opportunities to partake in awesome experiences and be able to ‘travel’ in our own country, with much of the rest of the world still in various stages of lock-down and restrictions. Because each camp group is small and contained, we are able to operate as we normally would – with a few simple extra measures in place for safety and hygiene.
There are several camp options and these will be presented to the girls to choose from soon. Camps go to Fiordland and Aspiring National Parks, Albert Town, Peel Forest and various other locations. Students choose three camps that best suit them and we do our very best to place students in the camps of their choice. The cost of camp for all students is around $290. Once students’ choices are allocated for camp there can be no movement as each camp has its own specific preparations. Therefore it is important for students to accept the placement they are allocated and make connections and work on building the team in their own camp. We urge parents to support the school with this as we spend a lot of time working to ensure the students are allocated to one of their three choices.
Gear is important and student safety depends on having the right gear checked and packed before camp. The key items to get organised now are a waterproof parka, a warm but lightweight sleeping bag and an over 50 litre comfortable pack. Parkas should be long enough to cover bottoms and be waterproof. Goretex is excellent but expensive, and oilskin or PVC are suitable cheaper alternatives. Jackets should have seams which have taped seam sealing down them.
Sorting a durable pair of tramping or hiking shoes is also important. Shoes must be lace-up and should be worn for several weeks before going on camp. It is better to take a good pair of running shoes than a pair of tramping boots that give you blisters. Blisters can ruin camp and turn it into an endurance. Err on the side of comfort. Many of these items are essential camp items that girls will require throughout their time at school. It is advisable to look out for sales at outdoor shops which take place at this time of the year. Find out when sales are on and shop around.
Polypropylene is especially useful for lots of camps and for the Dunedin winter months generally. Polypropylene is also sold at some department stores and often comes on sale. Check the label carefully to check it says polypropylene as there are imitations which are not as warm or as quick-drying. Your camp leader will check all gear for suitability. Be sure to name and keep track of all items.
We understand that many families are experiencing financial challenges because of COVID-19. Financial assistance is available to help with camps in hardship situations and there are many helpful options for paying for camp in instalments or regular direct debits. See the Counsellor, your Head of House or the office if you need help with this. All Year 10 students attend camp so please contact us early so that we are able to make this happen.
Most of all, to our Year 10 students, enjoy your camps and make the most of the fabulous opportunities they offer.
All students should have made camp selections by now and will will be advised which camp they are on shortly.