Abseiling into a water-filled canyon, navigating through World Heritage rainforest, becoming an accredited volunteer rural fire fighter and achieving surf life saving credentials – the boys at The Armidale School spent an adventurous Activities Week stepping out of their comfort zones and learning more about themselves.
Cadets trekked, canoed and canyoned at Nymboida Canoe Centre near Grafton, while in Year 11, boys in the Rural Fire Service program gained their chainsaw certificate at Armidale TAFE and helped various New England RFS brigades fight fires near Tingha, or achieved their Surf bronze medallions, as part of a program with Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club.
Hot weather and the risk of bushfire resulted in the relocation of the Year 10 and 11 Pioneers program from Washpool National Park to Buccarumbi on the Nymboida River, to the south east.
Meanwhile at school, Year 6 hosted the annual visit from Mosman Prep School in Sydney, their visitors getting a big slice of country life.
Headmaster Murray Guest, who spent the week visiting all activities programs, said it brought out the best in both students and staff.
“What I saw from so many is good management and a frame of mind that welcomes challenge rather than shying away from it and I think that highlights what our Activities Program is all about; developing resilience and showing that there is more in each of us than we might have thought,” he said.
He said the program was designed to offer different pathways beyond the compulsory years of cadets, through formal leadership training and responsibilities, the tailored small group experience of Pioneers, practical training through the Rural Fire Service and the physical challenge of Surf Lifesaving.
“Each offers an experience and an opportunity to develop that we believe is fundamentally worthwhile and will contribute in some way to the formation of good men.”
The week places big demands on TAS staff, and Mr Guest said it was a contribution that said much about the culture of the school and was part of TAS life.
“It is never taken for granted though and I offer my considerable thanks to all who have made the past week such a success and a time that will be remembered by the boys in their care.
Visit the Photo Gallery on the TAS website for hundreds of images from Activities Week 2014.