Outdoor Education

The Outdoor Education program starts in Year 2 and culminates in Year 9, unless students choose to study VCE Outdoor Education in Years 11 and 12. By providing a sequential program, we allow students to develop their confidence in the outdoors while learning more about themselves, their peers and the natural environment. There will be parts of the program which will challenge students, whether it be sleeping in a tent, being away from their family overnight or climbing to the top of the high ropes course. We encourage a culture of challenge by choice; every student has different strengths and areas for improvement. Therefore, what will be a challenge for one student may not be the same for another. Students outline their specific challenges for activities and the group supports individuals in achieving their goals. Students often return with stories of overcoming these challenges, the elation of doing so and the support that they received from their close knit group.

Yarra Valley Grammar staff accompany students on all programs and draw upon these successes once they have returned to the classroom. Pastoral care is of the utmost importance in any School activity and this is carried through on camps. Tutors or Home Room Teachers accompany their students and are often themselves challenged when faced with activities. This allows both students and staff to develop a rapport that is different to the classroom setting. These shared experiences are held in high regard for both staff and students alike.

On all of our programs there is also a strong focus on interpersonal relationships. Our activities are designed so that students must work together to achieve their group's goals. Communication, leadership, followship and teamwork underpin these group challenges. In successfully completing these, students learn more about their own character strengths and tendencies in group situations. Debriefs are undertaken after these activities and students are given opportunities to reflect on individual performance and that of the group. This information is utilised in the next activity and group roles such as 'leader' for the day and 'wellbeing officer' are rotated to give each student an opportunity to explore and showcase their developing skills.

Year 2

For the very first Outdoor Education program at Yarra Valley Grammar, students participate in an adventure day in which they visit various locations on the outskirts of Melbourne. Afterwards they share a meal together and sleep over at School. The purpose of this trip is multifaceted; it's an opportunity for students to gain some independence from their parents by taking responsibility for themselves while moving from a day excursion to an overnight setting. This program is introductory in nature and each year, we build upon and extend the students’ skills and abilities.

The activities that students will be involved in include:

  • Visiting a berry farm
  • Feeding native birds
  • Exploring Lake Emerald Park
  • Puffing Billy ride

Year 3

At Year 3 students explore the coastal environment and solidify their ‘deep sea’ curriculum. Students will stay in cabins and participate in a range of activities; some of which are onsite and others are in the local vicinity. Throughout the camp, we aim to extend on their experience and skills from Year 2. Students will be challenged by being away from their families for three days; they will get to know their peers better as activities focus on teamwork and above all have fun.

The activities that students will be involved in include:

  • Visit to the Dolphin Research Institute
  • Exploring rock pools
  • Walk
  • Beach games
  • Snorkeling
  • Initiative games

Year 4

In Year 4 the adventure continues by increasing the length of the camp normally to four days (2018 is 3 days due to Easter). Students journey to Yarra’s own venue, Wootton Lodge which was donated to the School in 1967 and is located near Lake Glenmaggie. The focus of this camp is to allow the students to bond together develop their camp craft skills by exploring the surrounding bush. Students will spend one night in a tent; have an opportunity to toast jaffles for lunch and enjoy marshmallows by the campfire.

The activities that students will be involved in include:

  • Participating in a raft challenge on a sheltered arm of Lake Glenmaggie
  • Participating in initiative games to develop self-esteem and team work
  • Visiting Glenmaggie Weir to investigate water storage
  • Investigating the food cycle of native animals
  • A night walk
  • Creating bush shelters

Year 5

The Year Five program is the fifth instalment of a Yarra student's Outdoor Education journey. This four day program allows students to continue their Indigenous understanding in a beautiful setting. Further to this, it builds upon their previous experiences in the outdoors by incorporating more technical activities such as the possum pull (high ropes) and canoeing. As always, students and staff get to know one another outside the classroom and have fun!

The activities that students will be involved in include:

  • Investigating the past, present and future of Indigenous Australians in the area
  • Developing individual and group skills
  • Learning about the natural history of the area
  • Canoeing on an enclosed dam
  • Low ropes and trust activities
  • Developing new and solidifying existing relationships
  • Spending one night camping out in tents
  • Having Fun!

Year 6

At Year 6 students journey to Canberra as part of their curriculum and as a result, there is not a specific Outdoor Education camp.

Year 7

This introductory program Middle School Camp is based at The Summit in East Trafalgar and allows students to embrace challenges in a supportive environment while providing a solid base for their ongoing Outdoor Education programs at Yarra.The Camp brings the year level together as a whole and allows them to bond with one another at this early stage of the year. It is also a chance for students to get to know their Tutors outside the traditional school setting through team building and challenge activities. Throughout the five day program, students sleep in cabins for two nights and fixed canvas tents for the other two nights. All meals are enjoyed in the dining room and a range of activities are on offer such as:

  • Leap of Faith
  • Abseiling
  • Rock Climbing
  • Cave
  • Inflatable city
  • Monster Course
  • Initiative Games
  • Giant Swing
  • Summit Window

Year 8

The Year 8 Outdoor Education program encapsulates the Year 8 motto of "being positive and resilient". Students will participate in a number of activities that will challenge themselves and their ability to work effectively as part of a team. The week offers Tutors an opportunity to connect with their students outside of the traditional classroom while allowing students to solidify their skills prior to continuing their outdoor education journey in Year 9. Students will sleep in tents for the five day program and undertake a journey where they will change campsites each night as they move through the following activities:

  • Group cooking
  • Overnight camping in tents
  • High ropes activity
  • Bush walking
  • Raft building
  • Mountain Biking
  • Low ropes
  • Initiative activities

Link @ 9 Retreat

The Retreat is primarily designed to encourage students to deeply consider their own views on a range of topics including spirituality, family, the environment and the immediate community. It provides the opportunity for students to build stronger bonds with members of their tutorial group whilst also allowing time for personal reflection, future thinking and opportunity to develop a VCE mindset. Throughout the five days students will sleep in a tent for one night, cabins for the other three and undertake the following activities:

  • Yoga
  • Reflection time
  • Camp cooking
  • Overnight camping in tents
  • High ropes activity
  • Short bush walk
  • Art session
  • Spirituality session
  • Cultural session
  • Initiatives activities

Step Up Step Out

As the final instalment of the LINK@9 program, all Year Nine students participate in our “Step Up Step Out” adventure odyssey. This trip will present students with a “Challenge by Choice” option, where they will select an adventure odyssey that aligns with training objectives for their physical and psychological skill sets. All options are located in Victoria, with group sizes of approximately 14 students per adventure and run for five days. Student choices include:

  • Climbing at Mount Arapiles
  • Canoeing along the Murray River
  • Sea kayaking in the Gippsland Lakes
  • Cycling in Victoria’s North East district

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