Last week our Year 9s were fortunate enough to participate in our Year 9 Camp Program. You will often hear me talking about our camp programs as they are never the regular run-of-the-mill school camp, where students find themselves participating in a number of enjoyable outdoor activities. Whilst we do have some of those activities across the program, our camps usually have a focus that always align with one of our values here at the College. Our Year 9 camp is no different and aligns itself very well to Community. We, as staff, have nicknamed the camp ‘Camp Safety’ as we spend the week teaching our Year 9s first aid, bush survival and party safe strategies, in the hope that if they ever find themselves in a situation where they need to ‘help a mate’ they can, which sees them helping and protecting members of the community that the student finds themselves in.
Referred to as ‘mateship’ the students are taught that this is one of the four pillars of the ANZACs, and arguably the pillar that ANZACs are most famous for when they fought in any war. I was fortunate enough to share a story with our Year 9s about one of the examples of how the ANZACs showed mateship in the second world war. It was about Hellfire Pass. Hellfire Pass is the name of a railway cutting in Thailand that was built by Allied POWs during the Second World War. The Australians, British and Dutch were forced to work 18 hour days to cut through difficult rocky terrain, basically cutting straight through a mountain. Prisoners who were too sick to work would not be fed, those who did work would receive a small bowl of rice for the day. Therefore, many of these POWs did not survive. It is said that the Australian POWs had a better survival rate, as those who could work would often visit their sick mates and share or even donate all of their bowl of rice to their Australian mates who couldn’t work, who were very ill and needed food/nutrition to get better. Any one of those Australians who shared their meal would say they didn’t do anything special and were only looking after a mate.
The Year 9 campers were set challenges throughout the camp. They were put into scenarios where they had to figure out how to return to the base, keep everyone together, and keep everyone safe. They were all given opportunities to put the needs of the group before their own needs. By all accounts from their supervising staff, they all did very well. They took on every challenge with a positive spirit, looked after each other and ensured they left ‘no man behind’. It is because of this, they are coming back as a stronger cohort. New friendships were formed, old friendships were solidified and life lessons were learnt. Mateship was evident throughout the entire camp. Well done, Year 9s!
Derek Bendall, Head of Secondary