And she's still smiling.
She slept on the couch from 6pm Friday night til about 11pm before I woke her to send her to bed. She then slept though until after 10am the following morning.
I keep nagging her to write a guest post about it but so far she has been coy. I keep saying she can't possibly STILL be tired but it certainly looks that way!
In a quick answer to some of the questions about the camp posed in the comments on my previous post.
Is it school sponsored?
Yes. It is an integral part of her school's year 9 curriculum and has been for 20 years.
Is it like a survival type experience?
Yes and No. Mostly yes I guess. The kids are in groups and have to co-operate in challenges and cooking daily on hobo stoves. They sleep 'rough' and use only the rudimentary tools they have brought with them. There are long drop toilets and no showers. They are however fed from a kitchen once a day (breakfast) and have plenty of fresh fruit available for snacking. They undertake hikes, orienteering, river crossing challenges, rope courses, a blindfold obstacle course, rope swings, building a fire from scratch, cooking challenges, going down a dark mine etc. On the last night they are challenged to spend a night 'on their own' in one of three different circumstances;
- under a tree
- in a field under a tarpaulin
- in the Esther Stand (standing in a 1 metre square space on a hillside for 6 hours)
Do all the schools do something like it, or just hers?
A number of schools run similar programs but hers is the only one I know of where the camp is a central part of the curriculum. Others seem to run in isolation as more of an 'add-on'.
Was this optional?
Yes and no. Pupils are strongly encouraged to take part and there are usually only a few who opt out, often for health reasons . This year however, the weather was so bad that after the first night and day, all pupils were given the option of whether to continue. Many 'phoned home' on the camp phone to discuss it and many went home that second night. Some returned the next day after a change of clothes and some did the whole back and forward thing, sleeping at home but returning to do the day challenges.
My child did not phone home. She made her decision to stay without consultation although she said it made her cry having to make the choice. It would have been so easy to have come home. She did not contact me during the whole week and she undertook every challenge. She wore the same 2 sets of clothes for the week. She did not shower. She got wet. Her shoes got wet. Her bedding got a bit wet but she stayed and she sucked it up! She stood for 6 and a half hours on a hillside in the dark and during a thunderstorm and she did not 'give up'.
Is this sort of camp a good idea? I think it is outstanding. What it does for kids in terms of building belief in themselves and their ability to cope is a gift without peer.
I am so proud of my tough daughter.