On Friday March 6th 75 teens and 75 mentors gathered at Murdoch University to kick-off a highly anticipated weekend of adventure and personal growth. Matt Taylor MLA (Member for Bateman) and Professor Andrew Taggart (Murdoch University Vice Chancellor) kindly opened camp with some inspirational words of wisdom before we all boarded the busses for outdoor recreation bliss, Forest Edge Waroona.
After a late, delicious camp dinner the teens separated into year groups, where, as well as discussing the expectations of LYF, our peers and ourselves, the groups got to know each other through challenges. The human knot saw unexpected levels of leadership and team work, whilst the wrap challenge brought out personality and smashed ‘the ice’. To wind down from the hectic evening the teens had a choice of an outdoor acoustic jam session, night time bush walk or for the worn out a lie down in front of a movie.
Saturday morning started bright and early with the lucky group of mentors ‘swagging’ it, waking up to stunning views over the valley. The day planned was action packed with everyone splitting up into tailored groups, with the teens choosing their flavour of activities.
The adrenaline inclined started by tackling a 20 metre abseil tower, where the only way up was to be winched up through teen/mentor power (with the aid of pulleys). The exploring groups headed off site, to a nearby weir where they put their design and construction talents to the test with raft building. They also learnt the finer points of kayaking and the team work required in the double kayaks. The creative inclined group started off in the LYF run activities which all groups completed throughout the weekend. This contained a real intellectual/logical NASA astronaut challenge, where pairs had to work out the most important items to get their stranded selves back to the mother ship. The LYF activity provided the beautiful sight of mentors and teens one-on-one, spread out in nature, under the trees and working through goal setting. It also involved interview skills aimed to assist with preparing teens for part time work and included some hilarious improvised skits from our ever helpful freelancers on how to and how not to interview.
Saturday night was quiz night, hosted by our enthusiastic freelancers. Questions included sport, riddles, music, pop culture, Australiana and UCFK/LYF, intermixed with classic games. Once again the teens had a choice of wind down activities, with a few of the teens stepping up to lead the live music session. As the lights were turned off, Forest Edge was silent, with everyone falling asleep straight away after an energy sapping day.
We were up again bright and early on Sunday morning with everyone keen get involved in more activities. The flying fox was a highlight, covering over 200m with two people going down at once and the educational instructors incorporating personal growth questions. The Crate Climb was the ultimate team challenge, requiring the group to plan and work together in order to build a tower made of crates and allow the different members to climb more than 7 meters high. The Low Ropes were full of trust exercises that relied on team communication to overcome challenges. Target shooting focused on listening skills, team work and bio-security, the air rifles were just a means of delivering the message. The Boomerang Making was a chance for a low intensity activity where organic materials were used to shape design, paint your own boomerang and connect the youth to our traditional land owners.
Youth Committee elections were held during lunch to conclude the camp. In a positive sign for the organisation, 15 young leaders put their names forward for youth committee. Six enthusiastic teens were chosen to lead their fellow youth forward in 2015.
I would like to acknowledge the Forrest Edge camp and staff who made the activities uniquely entertaining, yet educational at the same time. The teen’s attitude on camp was truly commendable. They really got involved, tackled the challenges and worked together in the activities. The mentors deserve significant credit for this, putting the time and effort in to encourage and engage their teens, it was special to watch.