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Wenona’s Duke of Ed adventures

Our Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh students grabbed their backpacks and headed outdoors during the July holidays, putting their training and teamwork to the test.

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Our Bronze Duke of Edinburgh students spent two days hiking, climbing and canoeing through the fragrant bushland the coastal tracks of Sydney’s Royal National Park. Stepping out of their comfort zone, they had an opportunity to develop their self-confidence and resilience as they got to grips with unfamiliar terrain and sleeping under canvas beneath the stars.

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Here’s what Ava and Essie (Year 9) had to say in their presentation at Assembly on Tuesday: “On the 29th and the 30th of June, 50 year nine girls set out to complete a range of outdoor activities such as canoeing, hiking and team-building exercises to fulfil our Duke of Edinburgh qualifying journey. Our camp instructor, Lainley and Ms Lehane made the journey that much better, so we thank all the teachers and Southbound Adventures staff for coming with us on this journey.

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To begin our adventurous journey, we bused from school to Audley Weir Flats in the Royal National Park at 8 in the morning. We were all a bit sleepy, but everyone was excited to board the bus and get to camp. Our group left Audley Weir with Ms Lehane, Lainley and Charlie and we canoed 3.5km to the bus stop. Here, we stopped for our homemade lunches and left our canoes for a ride on a public bus. We hopped on and off of a few buses and got to our campsite for the night. There we met the other groups and we set up our tents.

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That night, we had our packed foods (everyone made pasta and nachos) and we went to bed. After a few cranky comments from the staff, and getting lost en route to the bathrooms, we finally went to sleep. Personally, I wasn’t ready for the cold! The cold wind and dark night left me rugged up pretty tight.

The next morning, we all woke up feeling groggy but ready to have a fun day and get home to our warm beds. We hiked from our base camp to the bus stop. We caught our buses to the final stop. We got off the bus and walked through a lovely park. We hiked back up to civilisation and we all got back to Audley Weir later that afternoon. Our buses arrived, and we boarded them tired, but happy and grateful to have had this experience.

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Once at Wenona, we collected our things and our parents picked us up, and we were ready to begin our holidays. My favourite part was playing games on the beach after lunch. Unfortunately, I was first to lose Zip, Zap, and Zorp, but it was fun to play with our friends all the same. My favourite part of our journey was sharing facts and jokes with Lainley, Charlie, Ms Lehane and the rest of our group. A group favourite was Ruby’s joke, “What do you call a pencil that’s blunt? Never mind, it’s pointless!”

Our Silver Duke of Edinburgh students headed to the pristine waters, rainforest and scenery of Kangaroo Valley, where they spent three days navigating the river in canoes, camping out in the bush each night.

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Here’s what Tilly and Charlotte (Year 10) had to say in their presentation at Assembly on Tuesday: “On the first weekend of the July holidays, Ms Waine and nine courageous Silver Duke of Edinburgh students headed out on an adventurous canoeing trip in Kangaroo Valley. For an action-packed three days, we enjoyed taking in the breathtaking natural scenery while canoeing for around seven hours daily. A focal point of the camp was to increase our independence, so we were all in charge of planning and organising our own meal-plans and camping equipment. We also took turns in leading our daily river navigation and canoeing. By the end of the trip we were all canoeing and camping experts! This camp definitely helped us further develop our independence and increased our confidence in our own abilities. Although some aspects of the trip were challenging – like early wakeups, strong winds and near capsizes into freezing river water – we all had a really enjoyable time.

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An event that was particularly enjoyable and funny was when a wallaby hopped towards Ella, causing her to scream and run away. We also had some very funny incidents with Ms Waine… from turning around in the canoe every five minutes and asking for food and lollies, to accusing everyone of never paddling… Ms Waine definitely added a lot of laughs and encouragement to our trip!

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In our two big canoes, we spent hours paddling, but also spotting wildlife, decoding riddles, talking about upcoming holiday activities, discussing our different interests and enjoying group sing-alongs! The highlight of the trip was becoming closer to many lovely girls and getting to know each other better. We are all incredibly grateful for this wonderful opportunity and would like to thank Ms Waine for sharing this amazing experience with us.”

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At the Principal’s Assembly, Dr Scott presented Sophie, Mia, Emily, Rachel and Poppy (Year 11) with their Silver Duke of Edinburgh certificates. Well done girls. And a huge thank you to all our staff who gave up their holidays to accompany the girls on their adventures.

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