Five days, four nights, 57 girls and the whole of Tongariro National Park can seem quite daunting to a Year 10 student. This would be our chance to show leadership and step outside of our comfort zones, although it would soon be apparent that it was so much more than that.
We were all organised into groups of approximately ten people. This group wasn’t just a handful of people from your Year level, they would be the girls who would witness you fall over and face plant into the surrounding bushes due to your heavy backpack. They would cheer you on as you hesitantly jumped off a bridge into ice cold water. They would be the group that would sing songs all the way until every single person reached the top of the mountain. At the start of the week, these were the students you hardly knew but by the end they would become the girls you know like the back of your hand.
One of my group’s favourite activities was the flying fox. Although some people were hesitant in the beginning, everybody took part and had no regrets, even Ms Wood had a go! The flying fox went over a beautiful rushing river with big boulders and a section of thick native bush. Delighted screams echoed as we watched our team members soar past us. As scary as it may seem, group members encouraged you to be brave and step off the platform into an unknown experience. One step and you were off, screaming at the top of your lungs and slowly opening your eyes to be delighted by the scene below. You grin as you make it back to safety, knowing that was one of the most terrifying experiences of your life, but also one of the best.
In order to make the most out of camp, it is vital to trust your group because one of the activities presented was the high ropes course. This involved the task of climbing up a post, as tall as a street lamp, and walking on a tightrope while being harnessed by your peers. Your life felt like it was literally in their hands, and it was. This was a very scary prospect to be thinking about while climbing up to heights you have never even imagined but all you can do is look forward, take a deep breath and trust. Your group will cheer you on as you violently shake your way across the tightrope and laugh with you when you fall off but most importantly, they will catch you with the rope when you fall.
An activity that was the most daunting to me was the overnight trip. This would be done with no teachers, just your instructor and your group. We would have to walk six hours with heavy packs to our overnight destination, where a hard ground and a cold night would be waiting. But surprisingly this was one of the best days I had while on camp. What I witnessed and took part in was something special. The comradery between our team was almost magical. We cheered along all the way until the final destination, dingle biscuits were passed round and wide smiles were exchanged as we relished in the satisfaction of completing something that seemed impossible at times. That night we lay underneath the stars knowing that we had no regrets.
Camp was so much more than a leadership opportunity; it was a chance to make memories with people that you hardly knew. A chance to disconnect from social media and connect with nature, and a chance to fulfil once in a lifetime opportunities that seemed almost impossible at first glance. These will be the moments you look back on and smile because these were the moments you felt more alive than ever.
Liberty Jackson, Year 10