This was the first time in a long while that the boys have completed this leadership activity in the first term. Fortunately the weather played ball and we did not experience the extremely high temperatures that we did a number of years ago which necessitated a revisit to the course content and timing. On Monday the 20th group one (9, A, N, U, X) assembled on top field for the pre-trip briefing. I am glad to report that the whole process of getting the boys on the buses went very smoothly and reflected their commitment to the smooth running of this exercise.
After a short bus ride a very excited group of grade nine’s arrived at SOA…after a short briefing they were divided into teams and two separate camps. As with all boys the mention of lunch was met with great enthusiasm. After a healthy and nutritious lunch they were sent on their first task – orienteering to collect team points. Once this process was complete the two camps set about the late afternoon activities – leadership tasks and night bivvy. The night bivvy group had to pack up and hike down to the dam. Once there they built rafts and took themselves and all their belongings across the dam to the camp site. Here braai fires welcomed them. Group two were briefed on their potjie cooking and set about this task with varying degrees of success, and in reflection the boys realized that communication was key in this task. After dinner the boys took part in the night mission which included rafting from the canoe club to the dam wall and night abseiling. Night abseiling is probably one of the most extreme activities our boys take part and most conquered their fears of heights (and the dark). Meanwhile down at the dam the boys played various games and braaied – definitely one of their favourite activities.
Other activities included rope work on the cliffs above the dam and the very popular Water World Challenge.
After a great night mission group 2 woke to a good breakfast in camp. After briefing they embarked on the mornings activities. The obstacle course, the snake pit, and the very intimidating aerial activity Oliver’s Travels. All the groups set good times on the obstacle course and all of the boys conquer their fear of heights on Oliver’s Travels. This activity combines team work and trust to complete the mission.
As with all great experiences with our boys I was very impressed with their leadership skills when dealing with a variety of tasks. As the groups were completely random boys were forced to work with people who were not their friends and many fostered new friendships, both within their classes and the group as a whole.
Here are a few reflections by the boys on their adventure:
“On Monday 20 February the Grade 9s attended Spirit of Adventure at Shongweni. It was a good time for us as it was a way for us to show our leadership qualities. During the three days we were the we took part in extremely fun activities which taught us to work together as a team and help each other if we were sacred of an activity. For all of us it was a good experience, especially when we had to conquer our fears which was awesome. I am very thankful to Mr Lewis for putting in all the hard work organizing the camp for us.”
“Spirit of Adventure was a great camp which gave me and the other boys a fantastic experience. During the time at SOA I got closer to other boys who I didn’t know at all. This bonding experience meant that I felt comfortable working with people who were not my friends.
In the process of the activities I did many things that I didn’t see myself doing. I conquered my fear of heights when we had to walk across a log structure high in the air. This taught me to trust others as well.
The food was fantastic and tasted great – this was up until the point where we had to make our own potjie. My group didn’t know what to do and was in danger of spoiling our food until we got help from Mr Lewis. This saved our potjie and meant that even the instructors wanted to taste our great food.
I was very fortunate to attend the camp and have fun with boys from different backgrounds. We were all thankful to our teachers who helped put it all together.”
On Wednesday the groups swopped over and 9 D, B, and R attended for the remainder of the week. A slightly smaller group meant that the boys really had to work harder especially in the more physical activities and the staff present reported that the boys had a really great time and embraced all the activities with enthusiasm. I am glad to report that we had a 92% attendance rate at the camp and thank the parents for their support of this leadership initiative that sets DHS apart from many other schools in our province. I am in the process of planning another activity for the grade in the third term so watch this space.
I would also like to thank Mrs Joshua, Hodge, Hamilton, and Messrs Flanagan and Govender for their attendance at the camp and their support of this initiative.
Head: Outdoor Leadership