Day 1 of our Camp Week started at school, where we took place in a variety of challenges which led us to finding our group members for the Sydney leg of the camp adventure. These activities included some virtual Amazing Race challenges, to picking locks and solving riddles. All of the challenges contributed to finding other team members as more people were added to the team throughout the day.  It prepared us well to work together, to see our members strengths, allocate roles, select meals, and build relationships with our new team members, so we could successfully cooperate throughout the rest of the camp.  Roles assigned included timekeeper, leader, wellbeing manager, photographer, navigator, finance, clue keeper and IT manager.

Then on Day 2 we hit the M1 motorway for Sydney! We stopped for lunch in Circular Quay, and then made our way to the hotel to settle in before dinner.  We had to catch a minimum of two modes of transport (ferry, bus, train or tram) to the Maritime Museum while getting photos of every group member on each mode of transport by the group teacher. The purpose of this task was to get familiar with using opal cards and getting familiar with your teammates so that on the day of the amazing race, you would know if someone was missing and you would know how to use your opal card. This activity was extremely useful as it helped our group for the amazing race to know if anyone was missing from the previous day, it set in place good habits.  Finding a place to eat dinner was a team effort having chosen the location the day prior.  After dinner, all teams met up again and were given different challenges that, if completed in time, were worth double points.  After the challenges were completed, we made our way back to the hotel to prepare for a big day ahead – the official start of the amazing race!

Day 3 of the year 10 camp was the busiest, being out and about in Sydney for approximately 12 hours that day. We explored a good amount of Sydney, making our way all through the city to collect points for each of our teams. Each challenge, depending on the difficulty, would give points, and the group at the end of the amazing race with the most points, would win.  It was a good bonding time for all teams, as exploring while having the checkpoints and the idea of it being a race made it even more enthralling. The day’s events challenged our navigation skills and time keeping skills. About mid afternoon we watched ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ at IMAX. This was to get our mind off the amazing race for a bit, rest and relax. Day 3 was a big and exhausting day, but it was a lot of fun and enjoyed by all.  At the end of the day some stayed behind to help with budgeting from the day’s spending, which tested our budgeting skills, because the left over money didn’t really match up with the receipts in the end!

Our group participated in a wide variety of activities such as walking across the harbour bridge to get photos in the middle, finding a bilingual sign in Chinatown and taking a photo of it, a video of all group members, each standing on a different step, singing the Australian National Anthem at the Opera House.  One of our team’s strengths was our motivation. We could tell most of the boys in our group were getting very tired and were sick of all the walking but they did not complain out loud and kept powering on and they did this because they cared for the team.

Day 4 was a good finish to camp week, it had the purpose of relaxing and finishing off a hard few days of exercising, both our brains and bodies. It still brought us closer together as we all tried to finish up our camp and end it on a good note. We arrived back at school in the morning, then had a pizza lunch followed by a few more team activities such as writing a speech to get more points, getting all the photos and videos of camp to Mrs. McCord, and finishing any activities in our Amazing Race booklet that hadn’t yet been completed yet.  It was nice to just be together and not have somewhere to go next, as we were all just about to go off to holidays!

I got to know a lot of people a lot better, bonding and forming new relationships with people I hadn’t previously, while strengthening those friendships I already had.  I learned people’s strong points and some of their weaknesses, and I discovered my classmates’ motivation and their competitive sides.  It’s fair to say, my team did not want to lose! It was challenging at times to work in groups where some people got distracted easily and completing our tasks was difficult.  I learned that everyone has a desire in them to quit and give up, as much as they have a desire to pursue and win. I learned that with a team the desire to try your best overtakes the desire to give up because as a team you are stronger and your mental strength increases.  I believe the saying is true that, “teamwork divides the task and multiplies the success.”

We got closer to the teachers, as we were with them all day for multiple days.  We got to talk to them and know them on a more personal level. I also discovered their drive, the fact that they also took it seriously and didn’t want to lose.  Some of them are a lot more laid back than I realised.  Also, this camp demonstrated why you should follow your teacher’s instructions, as there are reasons why rules are in place!  I always knew the teachers cared about their students but this camp really opened my eyes to just how much effort, time and patience they have for us. When we were confused or troubled they would help out, and would comfort us, helping us to regain our strength by resolving group problems.

I found out that I need to push myself harder, as everyone else has passion and sometimes they are more determined and passionate than I am.  I realized that I’m useless at navigating when I don’t have a map or device on me to use!  I learned that I can resolve group problems and conflict effectively by getting everybody to reunite.

Eliana, James & Saffire