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All hail our intrepid Bronze DOE students

During the holidays, 16 Bronze Duke of Edinburgh students headed out to Kangaroo Valley for a camping and canoeing adventure led by Year 8 Coordinator (Acting), Ms Robyn Waine.

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Ms Waine said, “While the weather forecast predicted a 90% chance of rain for Sunday 20 June and an 80% chance of rain for the following day, nothing was going to faze the intrepid Bronze Duke of Edinburgh campers! We weren’t even bothered by the very early start to Kangaroo Valley. Luckily for us, the bus was warm and cosy, so it gave us plenty of opportunity to prepare ourselves for our two days of canoeing and camping in the great outdoors.

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Our group was made up of me, Year 6 Teacher Ms Jacquie Taplin, and 16 students, two from Year 10 and the rest from Year 9. We kicked off our adventure with a picturesque canoe paddle from the Bendeela Picnic area to Tallowa Dam, where we set up camp for an overnight stay in tents. It was everything we were expecting and more: great scenery, great exercise and great camaraderie!

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Spending so much time together with a buddy in a two-person canoe in the rain and then sharing a tent gave us all ample time to discuss the important stuff: our favourite TV shows and our preferred streaming service; how much food we’d brought; what to eat and when; and what home luxuries we were missing the most (hot showers, oodies, doonas etc.).

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It was great to bond over these experiences, but I think the evening camp fire will go down as a favourite memory! The highlight for me was Charlie’s determination to start the the fire without using any matches!

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As a PDHPE Teacher, I have to say, I was pleased to see how much the students’ navigation skills improved over the two days. I was also very impressed by their positive attitudes and camaraderie, which helped to buoy up all our spirits, particularly as our wet weather gear was put to good use!”

Hayley in Year 9 said, “The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh trip was a spectacular experience, full of physical and mental challenges throughout. It was great to bond with other girls from both Year 9 and Year 10, as well as take responsibility for different tasks over the weekend. For example, cooking food for our group or navigating.

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This trip taught me not to take things for granted, such as shelter, a warm bed, and dry, clean clothes! Personally, the highlight for me was the evening when we made a campfire and sat round it in a circle. The optimism of everyone in my group certainly helped to make my experience more motivating and enjoyable. Overall, this camp was so beneficial, teaching me life lessons, as well as helping me build lifelong friendships with girls from my year.”

Imogen, also in Year 9, said, “When we all hopped onto the bus to Kangaroo Valley, we were so excited to commence our Bronze qualifying journey. Even though the forecast was for rain we didn't let that 'dampen' our enthusiasm. The 2.5-hour trip down was one of laughter and excitement. On arrival, we immediately set off in our canoes down the Kangaroo Valley River doing karaoke along the way. When we reached our destination for the night, it was time to set up camp. We had to put up our tents and collect sticks for a fire. The sun began to set, and it was time to start cooking our gourmet dinner. Once dinner was served, we sat around the campfire to have a chat and a giggle. It was so much fun! The next day we recommenced our adventure. We played games on the canoes and even though it was rainy we didn't let this get our spirits down. At the end of the trip, we could easily dry off and remove our wet clothes, but we will never erase the amazing memories which we made on our Duke of Ed camp in Kangaroo Valley.”