“Nature is such a wonder… it’s amazing that when I take a bucket of water out of the ocean to use for my painting, it is not affected one bit. My footprint in the sand, probably no-one else will see. From where I am seated I can see one other person (in the distance) who is only a millimetre big. This all proves to me that all the things I see as “big problems” are really only, in the scheme of things, nothing.” - Student on Year 10 'Transition' Camp
The Outdoor Education program is designed so students gain an understanding of their potential, while helping to develop those highly prized qualities of initiative, self-reliance, co-operation and leadership.
Outdoor Education primarily takes place in outdoor settings, often with challenging and physical, adventure-based activities. There is a strong context of collaborative learning, balanced with space and structure for reflection.
Students gain experience and knowledge of a variety of different environments and ecosystems. Outdoor Education happens in rural settings, national parks, urban areas and parkland.
Students journey along rivers, across mountain ranges, between islands and even under the sea. All these places have their own stories and values that students learn about.
The benefits of spending time in natural places and connecting with them are now widely recognised educationally and from a wellness perspective.
It is the underlying aim that Outdoor Education will be of mutual benefit to students and the places they inhabit.
The change in context that Outdoor Education provides is used to assist students to examine and reorder their personal priorities; priorities that have often been adopted without considered thought or reflection in a busy, media saturated, day-to-day life.
Outdoor Education Program
A theme helps direct the programming and curriculum for each year level. Year 7 to 11 have a mixture of camps and activity days. Year 12 have a single camp.
Year 7 Program - Connections
3 Day introductory camp in Term 1. Based in and around Yabba Creek students learn the basics of what camps at Hillbrook involve and learn about this area on the water in canoes, in the water while swimming and along the water with li-los.
Activity days (Term 2, 3 and 4): Ropes Course, Orienteering and The Bushwalk & Canoe Journey.
Year 8 Program - Explorations
4 day base style camp in Term 2. This camp takes place on the Granite Belt, an area that fits perfectly with theme of exploration. Students explore the formations, peaks and caves of this area and build on their basic skills.
Activity days (Term 1, 3 and 4): River and Rafting Day, Rock Climbing and The Urban Adventure.
Year 9 - Journeys
4 day journey based camp in Term 3. This camp to get to know their own back yard as smaller student groups combine bushwalking, paddling and peddling as they journey.
Activity days (Term 1, 2 and 4): Orienteering, Bike and Boat, Ropes Course.
Year 10 - Transitions
4 day journey and reflective experience in Term 4, along a Coastal National Park, this camp involves students undertaking dune rehabilitation, team building activities and the ‘solo’. A reflective art process is woven through camp, and students are challenged to consider their transition to senior schooling, and toward adulthood.
Activity days (Term 1 and 3): Rogaining and Canoeing on moving water.
Year 11 - Decisions
4 - 8 Day student led expedition, which requires small groups of students to learn about, plan for and undertake an expedition in a venue they feel an affinity for. This largely self directed experience is a fabulous reflection of students growing capacity to collaborate and create their own positive and rich experiences
Other Year 11 Outdoor Education: The Practice Journey– a preparation for expedition (Term 2) and a final visit to the Ropes Course (Term 1).
Year 12 - Destinations
4 - 5 Day camp with a focus on a nature based, low impact, adventurous pursuit. This final Outdoor Education experience is for students to bring together their outdoor skills and experiences and practice these while working toward master of a specific skill. The emphasis here is on helping students gain access to another way to enjoy nature, while working on their leadership and group skills. Students nominate to be involved in a camp that focuses on one pursuit, with offerings in past years including sea kayaking, sailing, white-water canoeing, mountain biking, climbing, canoe-touring and horse-riding.
A student on the Year 10 'Transition' Camp
"Outdoor Ed at Hillbrook is not always easy. Students increase their involvement in planning and their responsibility while on camp as they progress through the year levels. Despite this, (or maybe because of it) if you speak to an ex-Hillbrook student “outdoor ed” will be an aspect of their education they vividly remember – be prepared to listen to more than one story!"