PGL Adventure Camps: Cementing relationships - Education Matters Magazine

Beyond the Classroom

PGL Adventure Camps: Cementing relationships

At Warrnambool College in Victoria’s south-west, Year 7 students take part in a camp at Campaspe Downs, helping them to form lasting new friendships as they enter the next chapter of their schooling.

Set amid 180 acres of natural bushland in the Macedon Ranges, Campaspe Downs is one of three sites run by PGL Adventure Camps, which offers a range of outdoor adventure-based programs that can be tailored to suit each school’s desired outcomes.

Warrnambool College began using PGL’s services for its Year 7 camps in 2018.

According to Matthew Williams, Sports and Events Coordinator at Warrnambool College, the school places high importance on extracurricular activities such as camps and outdoor education.

“Students are involved in multiple outdoor activities throughout the Campaspe Downs camps, which enhances student learning by creating authentic relationships with the staff and other students. This has a studied effect that enhances classroom outcomes,” says Mr Williams.
In his role, Mr Williams is tasked with the planning, coordination and delivery of camps, local and interstate sporting excursions and local school and community events. He works across the entire school from Years 7-12, in partnership with teachers.

By attending school camps, he says that students develop interpersonal skills such as communication, reasoning and teamwork. Students often gain the skills necessary to achieve group success in a given task as well as enhance their empathy, trust and resilience with their peers through group activities. They also have the opportunity to try new activities such as canoeing, raft building, navigating high ropes courses or abseiling.

“These camps offer students the opportunity to develop social skills necessary for school life and their own personal development. Student activities are designed to necessitate teamwork and engagement in a fun setting to foster new relationships between the students as well
as strengthen teacher student relationships through minor games and major activities,” Mr Williams adds.

“The importance of students attending camps away from school is a large part of the camp philosophy. The Year 7 camp helps to form relationships for students entering a new school community.”

Students at Warrnambool College participate in outdoor camps in Years 7, 8 and 9. In addition to the high value the school places on academic outcomes, it also places a large emphasis on personal development and wellbeing, which are strengthened through student involvement in outdoor camps and other initiatives such as the school’s Academy Program, which gives students the opportunity to focus on a pursuit of their choosing such as soccer, AFL, netball or basketball, for example.

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