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Silver DofE tackle Myall Lakes

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The Silver Duke of Edinburgh award is hard work. But our Year 10 students who canoed across Myall Lakes over the holidays, honed their leadership, perserverance, teamwork and communication skills, and formed a new-found appreciation for the great outdoors.

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Here’s what Sophie and Maddie (Year 10) had to say.

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This year the Year 10 students doing Silver Duke of Edinburgh participated in two camps as part of the award. As well as completing a number of hours of a skill, sport and service, we were required to partake in a practice and qualifying journey.

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Both camps commenced immediately after the conclusion of Term 1 and 2. What a great way to start the holidays!

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They were both 3 days and 2 nights, with canoeing as the main mode of transport/activity.

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Our practice journey was located at the Hawkesbury river, and the qualifying at Myall Lakes, both were beautiful places to canoe and camp!

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For both camps, we met at school early in the morning on the first day of holidays, loaded onto the bus and drove to our location where we were greeted by our southbound camp leaders.

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We canoed around 7 hours each day with short breaks and were almost canoeing experts by the end of the last camp! We woke up at 5.00-6.30am every morning, and even at 4.30am one morning because of the wind! Despite the early wakeups, we made the best of the journey and had lots of fun as a group.

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We did various activities in both camps such as swimming in the river, playing card games and visiting nearby beaches. Of course, there were a few challenges such as the rain and the wind which impacted the canoeing and the difficulty level, however, it taught us to not give up and to overcome challenges.

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We were encouraged to become more independent and by the qualifying journey we took charge of navigating, planning, daily activities and delegated roles to each group member. The highlights of both trips were watching the beautiful sunsets and sunrises across the water, telling jokes and playing games, spotting dolphins and pelicans, singing on the canoes and getting to know amazing girls who we wouldn’t usually talk to at School.

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We learnt some very useful skills on these camps such as navigating, cooking, canoeing techniques, putting up a tarp and more. They allowed us to gain a further appreciation for all the resources we take for granted at home, such as showers and kitchens!

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Both camps were incredible experiences where we formed new friendships, learnt new things, saw wildlife, explored the environment and made great memories. Although the camp was challenging and difficult at times, it was a rewarding experience that allowed us to learn useful qualities such as teamwork and resilience. We strongly recommend continuing Duke of Edinburgh and doing Silver for anyone doing Bronze, as it is such a valuable and worthwhile award.

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We would like to thank Ms Horsham, the Duke of Edinburgh coordinator, for all her hard-work, dedication and patience. We would also like to thank all the teachers who volunteered to come on the camps with us. This meant taking time out of their holidays and dealing with both hyperactive and exhausted teenage girls. The camps would have not been possible without these people, and we are extremely grateful.”

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