Published on July 3, 2019

Nothing prepares students for the challenges of real life like the real world, so our Outdoor Education Program is carefully crafted to enhance students’ physical and emotional strengths, readying them for life — wherever it takes them. 

The HVGS Outdoor Education Program is offered to students in Years 3 to 12 and is an integral aspect of the School’s commitment to holistic education. Our program aims to challenge students to maximise their potential, not only intellectually, but also emotionally, spiritually and physically.  A key component of the program each year is a camp.

Students hiking

“Each camp is designed with a program of experiential learning activities appropriate to the cohort attending and in keeping with the School’s Outdoor Education curriculum,” Senior teacher and Outdoor Education Coordinator Loodia Sheeba says.

“Canoeing, fishing, bushwalking, abseiling, rock climbing and skiing are just some of the activities that set the scene for students to better identify their personal strengths, test their fortitude, explore their weaknesses and, above all, engender a love for adventure and the outdoors while empowering them (through their experiences) to be better citizens.”

In the Senior School, programs involve both classroom lessons and a range of activities in outdoor and urban environments. 

What’s on offer?

The journey starts with a two-day camp in Year 3 at the Great Aussie Bush Camp, and as students grow and develop in age and maturity, they take an outdoor educational adventure that culminates in the ultimate Adventure Camp in Year 10.  Students in Years 11 and 12 participate in a program that encompasses academic development, study skills and outdoor activities.

Students in tent

Student growth

Students build resilience from being away from home, and healthy challenges in a fun and social setting is good for their development.

Junior School teacher and Camp Coordinator Samantha Ducey says: “We often see students leave camp with a sense of accomplishment, pride and new friendships. These experiences stay with them long after camp is over, so they are a very important aspect of school life.”

There are many examples of student growth while on camp. “The giant swing is often the activity that junior students look forward to, but also fear the most,” Samantha says. “This is the activity where peers encourage each other and leadership qualities shine.”

In the Senior School, Loodia has experienced many examples of student growth. “One Year 7 student overcame their fear of the dark and confined spaces to enter a wombat hole, and another, who was afraid of heights, was determined to tackle and complete the high ropes course.”

“The experiences student have in our Outdoor Education program shows them they can overcome life’s hurdles.”

Loodia Sheeba

HVGS encourages students to attempt the things that make them anxious to help build their resilience but understand that some may struggle and ensure they can make an attempt, and possibly fail, safely.  We don’t throw students into the deep end, but we build on the skills obtained from previous camps so students can confidently move through our Outdoor Education Program from one year to the next.