Camps are an opportunity for the girls to experience new and exciting pursuits while cementing relationships within their year group. We encourage girls to stretch their personal comfort zones as this often leads to a realisation that they have the ability and willingness to do an activity or challenging that they thought was near impossible. It may also uncover a new hobby or passion that they want to pursue. A student from each year group has written their personal experiences about this year’s camp.
Year 9 Camp: Getting To Know Hawke’s Bay.
As we hopped on the bus and headed to Lake Tutira, we were all very excited. Some of us had been here before so we knew what it was like, but for some, this was their first time.
We were split into three different groups to do some fun team building activities, then soon after we were onto our next adventure. We were either doing the flying kiwi, the low ropes or the mud walk. My group did the mud walk and it was really fun. We got super muddy and we got to go on a water slide too. Once we were all clean and dry, it was time to go canoeing. We headed down to the lake and got into groups of six. After we finished canoeing, it was time for dinner. We had sausages and burgers at the Guthrie Smith camp.
It was now time to go to where we were staying in Napier, which was the Kennedy Park – it was really cool. The next day we headed to Te Mata Peak. A big part of this camp was learning more about ‘Our Region’ and we met our two guides for the day, Levi and Tipene, who taught us lots about the Māori history of the area and the Peak itself. We all walked to the top, which was a challenge for a lot of the girls but a fun thing to do as a Year Group.
On the way down we stopped in the Red Woods and made a Māori village in groups. Personally, I think my whare (house) was the best! It was time to go home, we headed back to school very tired but with a feeling that our year group was a lot closer after the great experiences we had shared on this camp.
Emily Jones, Year 9
Year 10 Camp: An Amazing Adventure.
When we arrived at Hillary Outdoors we were all very anxious about the whole experience and what challenges we were going to be faced with during the upcoming week. A lot of us were worried about the groups we were going to be put in and with who, but most of us were more shocked about how we were going to survive without a phone for a whole WEEK.
We were placed in groups of about 10 girls who became our family for the next week. We slept in the same cabin, did activities together and ate all our meals with each other. The girls in your group saw each other at their worst state; tired, scared, way out of their comfort zone, sore or possibly sitting on the side of the track on the overnight tramp whining that you just want to go home!!!
You knew some of the girls in your group, but some you didn’t know extremely well or who you didn’t usually hang out with them at school, but they were girls you would get along with and form friendships for school life and possibly beyond. The girls in your group were people you could trust and count on to get through the tough and challenging activities that were thrown at you.
An activity that my group found challenging, and that put us out of our comfort zones, was the first activity we did – the high ropes. This activity tested our trust in one another and tested us to do what we might not be happy or comfortable doing. Along with having a lot of laughs with each other, we also supported and helped the ones who weren’t as confident or comfortable doing the high ropes to get to the end and complete the activity.
One of my favourite activities was kayaking on Lake Taupo where we kayaked from the Tokaanu Northern boat ramp, out, around a point and followed a river to where we had lunch on a bank next to it. To get there, there was a lot of walking in the water and dragging our kayaks because of how low the river was. It’s not sounding very fun, but it was a surprisingly cool experience that I will remember along with the rest of the experiences on this camp.
On the last night, we did an overnight tramp where our leader/instructor had to put up with us for a whole day and night without any teachers. They took us to an overhanging cliff (that we called a cave to make it sound more exciting) which took 1-2 hours of walking with very heavy packs on to get to. Before we got to ‘the cave’ we did some abseiling. This was one of the scariest, most daunting things ever, when you look over the ledge and see how far up you are it takes your breath away, but it feels amazing when you finally drop onto the ground at the bottom and look up to what you have just accomplished. When we got to the cave with our wet shoes and socks, heavy packs and all, all of us were exhausted and just about ready to fall asleep then and there.
I don’t think I got much more than an hour of sleep that night, but I don’t think I’ve had so much fun and laughed as hard with the bunch of girls in my group. Our instructor Anne was lucky she wasn’t sleeping in the cave with us. From getting up early in the morning to getting lost in the bush to finally finding the track and walking what seemed like a lifetime back to Hillary Outdoors, the whole experience we had just completed seemed so rewarding and cool to think of because of what we got out of it and what we had achieved.
Overall, camp was such an incredible and cool experience that I can look back on today. I learnt so much from it and got to bond with some cool girls who I wouldn’t have been as close with now if it wasn’t for camp. Taking a break from our phones and social media sounded impossible to grasp at first, but at the end of the week it felt good to have achieved that, along with all the other amazing adventures we had experienced.
Zoe Elliott, Year 10
Year 11 Camp: Unforgettable Experience.
Early morning on Wednesday 5 February, the Year 11 students eagerly boarded the bus heading to the middle of nowhere. You could feel the excitement and growing curiosity in the air as we wondered what our next two days would look like at the Guthrie Smith Outdoor Education Centre.
When we arrived at Lake Tutira, we were warmly welcomed by our head instructor and were led to our campsite – our home for the night. We were then split into four groups for the activities that we would be taking part in, including canoeing at Lake Opouahi, gorging a nearby river stream and caving in a large, dark cave. Before we were able to enjoy our first activity, we went to Lake Opouahi for a lunch break where the remaining instructors introduced themselves. Just as we thought it was time to start, we had a little surprise. It was the chance to see a Kiwi from the Kiwi Crèche and learn about the conservation efforts of the Department of Conservation (DOC) staff in the surrounding area!
We then separated into our groups and set off on our first adventure. Luckily for my group, we didn’t have to travel far as we were canoeing on the lake, partaking in heaps of exciting challenges in our canoes. During the evening, we quickly became engaged in a fun, detective, problem-solving activity that everyone was able to be involved in. Not long after, our excitement turned into exhaustion as we made our way back to our tents and, before we knew it, we had fallen asleep.
The next morning, we packed up our campsites and prepared for the remaining two activities. For my group, this consisted of tackling large rocks and slippery slopes whilst gorging, followed by squeezing ourselves through impossible gaps during caving. Shortly after our activities came to an end, we loaded the bus and prepared for the journey home.
Overall, this camp was an amazing experience that provided many opportunities and pushed everyone outside their comfort zones. For some, this camp was an entirely new experience in an unfamiliar environment, but having our friends around made everyone feel encouraged and supported to give every experience a go. I’m sure everyone who was part of this experience will agree that the memories made on this trip will never be forgotten.
Amelia Barrett, Year 11
Year 13 Camp: Riding The Waves Of Leadership.
At the start of the year, the fresh new Year 13 group left the school gates for Waimarama and their eagerly anticipated camp.
The first group activity was a presentation at the Waimarama Surf Club with Annette Cater from Dale Carnegie. This leadership course allowed us to communicate with people we wouldn’t usually and started the process of knitting the year group into one body. This was a great way to kick the camp off as we learned a lot of new coping mechanisms for the very important year ahead and also had a lot of fun interacting with each other during group activities.
The sun was now out in full force, sunblock was slapped on and sun hats compulsory as the year group went to their next activity; bush scavenger hunt. This included a roughly 4km trail walk in groups through a reserve in the back hills of Waimarama where groups were required to locate specific native plants and also work together throughout mini challenges.
Home for the next day, Waimarama campground, was up next where we laughed and struggled to eventually pitch up all our tents. This was a lot of fun but also incredibly draining underneath the hot sun which was thankfully relieved by a quick dip in the ocean. We had a classic Kiwi Fish’n’Chip dinner and then we nodded off for the night.
On waking up, with all tents still upright (surprisingly) we started the day with a bang. Two groups were formed, while one surfed with the assistance of a surf school, the other was thrown into surf lifesaving mini competitions and IRB rides – thanks to the incredible help of Waimarama surf club staff and Ms Benson. Once the campground was packed up and BBQ lunch eaten, exhausted, we travelled back to school. Ready to start off the year!
A special mention to Mr Nixon, Briar, the Gappies and the other teachers who came that made sure we were fed, hydrated and ready to meet each activity with a smile.
Tessa Burns, Sports Prefect