Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,

Last week I had the privilege of accompanying Room Seven on their annual camp.

This year it was a summer camp so the camp was held at Camp Columba in Pukerau.

Firstly thank you to Mrs Baines for organizing an excellent camp, and thank you also to the great group of parents who supported this camp, Mesdames Janine Will and Bridget Hall and Messer's Gary Hayward, Lindsay Burns and James Crooks. Without the help of these people giving up their time, important activities like camp would not be able to take place.

Outdoor education has unfortunately become an aspect of education that not all schools now endorse. As with all adventure based activities there is an element of risk, but there are risks attached to all activities. Scootering, results in many times more injuries than we have ever had on camp, as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in the Hobbit “when you take a step outside your front door you begin an adventure”.

Abseiling or rock climbing or completing the high ropes course themselves are not crucial towards achieving in life, few, if any of us will regularly use these skills and fewer of us will make a career of utilizing them.

But what they do, is enable us to set and overcome challenges, they develop our feeling of self esteem and courage. They show us how to concentrate in situations that we are not used to.

As I watched a young person stand at the bottom of the climbing wall or the top of the abseiling cliff and look up or down—I could see them think I don’t know if I can do this? So when they did achieve this goal they felt they had proven something not to others but most importantly to themselves.

That is the value of outdoor education, it offers another dimension to our lives that dissuades us from the sedentary but also teaches us skills that show life isn’t a spectator sport, it’s about being fully involved.

Have a great week,

Mike Brosnahan

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