Cire goes Bear Grylls, almost

While not with the same hype as a Bear Grylls or a Survivor episode, Cire Community School students have notched up their own achievements in the outdoors this year, well beyond their “wildest” dreams.

School camps and expeditions have enabled them to move well beyond their comfort zones and develop soft and hard skills they can apply to many aspects of their lives and have loads of fun.

Some of these opportunities were funded through the Victorian Government’s Positive Start program, designed the help address the impact of the harsh lockdowns and restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic.

The program enabled Cire students to have a five-day paddling camp at Lake Eildon and the Snowy River near Buchan, putting to the test and further developing what they had learned from about 12 activities days in terms of building relationships, stamina and skills.

For Eildon, students co-designed the camp, which involved a five-day paddle along the Delatite arm of Lake Eildon.

Students learnt to put up tents, construct a good cooking fire, improved their already decent tarp skills, continued to improve their paddling skills, cooked over a fire and use stoves, and developed leadership, navigation, conflict resolution, and negotiation skills.

They also demonstrated great resourcefulness and creativity. Two students harvested pine sap from a plantation and heated it on rocks to make glue – and one made an axe with his glue, a rock, and a branch and found cable wire. Together the group made two fishing rods/apparatus, upcycling random items found, including hooks from ring pulls. While the fish managed to escape being caught, they enjoyed the corn bait.

Camp coordinator KD Skidmore said some amazing reflection and conflict resolution took place.

“We worked through some social division arising from conversation topics and created inclusive solutions … there was a great change in vibe and benefits, of which the whole group was able to articulate at some point.”

Particularly special moments included seeing the blood moon rise and then the eclipse over the water, climbing a ridge and watching the moon rise on another night and then sharing the nightly reflection with the mosquitoes.

The benefits of the camp were also captured in the following student comments:

Moss: Highlights were getting to know people better and having great chats around the fire; learning how to work as a team, paddle straight and even how to propagate a pine tree.

Rhylie: I learnt more about myself and how to work better with others. Also, how to consider everyone else’s feelings and opinions.

Melanie: I really enjoyed being with my classmates.

Mel: Being on camp, away from everything, was really good for my mental health. I enjoyed doing all the activities I usually would not do at home.

Bianca. I enjoyed canoeing, talking around the fire, and watching the moon eclipse and the solar eclipse.

Tristan: One of the highlights for me was finding connections with people I didn’t know I had connections with.

Matari:  I loved the whole experience of getting to know everyone better. It was a great experience overall, and I think we all really value what we got out of it. The view was really nice out on the water, everything was so flat and perfect, and the eclipse/blood moon was pretty epic.

Pictured: EACH Wild staff Tristan Sterry and Loui Callas (foreground), with students Matari Grace, Bianca Schyf, and Rhylie Scammell.