A New Adventure: Year 7 Camp & Alternative Learning Days

A Different Camp

Year 7 camp looked a little different this year. It was decided to split the Year 7s into two groups, with only four Homerooms away at camp at one time. Byrne, Kelly, Frayne and O’Reilly Houses were the first to attend the camp days at Point Walter.

The other Houses stayed back at the College participating in Alternative Learning Days (ALD), an extension of the Year 7 transition to high school program. 

Due to COVID-19, the program was changed from an overnight camp to a day camp. While this was a little disappointing for the girls missing out on the camping experience at night, they had a fabulous time at Point Walter and the aims of the camp were certainly achieved. The opportunity to spend time in Homerooms, get to know each other better, and build new friendships was invaluable. 

Alternative Learning Days

The ALD involved a number of staff who generously provided their expertise in organising or running sessions for the students. The students appreciated their time and effort. 

We will remind students of the lessons they’ve learned throughout the year, and draw on the experiences of both the camp and ALD during our Mercy Wellbeing Program. Both these programs are a large part of achieving the aim of Year 7 – I belong!

Marsha Pengilly | Dean of Students, Year 7 

Below are reflections written by some of the Year 7s. The girls give insight into their week sharing their highlights from camp and the alternative learning program. 

Our Homeroom connected like a family

There were lots of fun and engaging activities that kept us busy. On Monday and Tuesday, we had sessions where we learned all about the dangers of social media and the importance of keeping our identity hidden. We learned why friends are so important, why it’s so important to talk to our friends, how to make good friendships, and our strengths and values. These activities helped us understand ourselves and others. We also had many other fun opportunities like art, meditation, Pilates and music. I was part of the art class where we decorated feathers that symbolised us. Over these two days, I learned more about myself and connected with my fellow peers. Our Homeroom connected like a family. Natalia Chiavo Cardoso Menezes

It was scrumdidleyumpcious

The camp was fun even though we didn’t get to stay the night. My favourite bit was the raft building, as we had to work together so the raft would float and not fall apart. I feel I got to know everyone a lot more and I also liked the canoeing and swimming. Another fun and exciting thing about camp was when we made our own lunch and milo! The first day we had veggies in a wrap. On the second day, we made this cool thing called bucket lunch! We put all of the ingredients into a bucket, then mixed it all up and served it in wraps or over corn chips to make nachos. It was ‘scrumdidleyumpcious’. Imogen Watts


What stood out to me the most was when the school psychologists talked to us. They spoke to us about friendship issues and things that would happen in the future. I felt like they understood us and what we would go through because they shared examples of what had happened to them. They would talk to us as if we were just one of their friends, not one of their students. I also enjoyed learning about our character strengths. We looked at our highest character strength, and I don’t know about most people, but mine made me feel good. Then we saw what our friends had as their highest character strengths, and we would feel terrific about the people we had chosen to surround ourselves with. We had a fantastic week, and I am looking forward to doing this again in Year 9. Sofia Galeano Riveros

Wellbeing Sessions

Some of the guest speakers for the alternative learning days included: Ms Stade, Ms Burrows, Ms Marshall, and Ms Kerr. Ms Stade talked to us about maintaining friendships and knowing our boundaries. She suggested seven different lessons of friendship and how to stand our ground when we don’t want to be forced into doing something we don’t want to do. Ms Burrows talked to us about the importance of mental health and how to maintain it. We were given a biography called “The Case of Casey” a made-up student who had come to us for advice. In small groups, we discussed solutions for her and why ‘Casey’ had such bad mental health. Next, we had a session with Ms Kerr. We talked about gratitude and how important it is to have and appreciate the little things, like how we can see, breathe, smell, live in a beautiful country, and wake up this morning. We were even given a gratitude journal kindly provided by Mrs Pengilly to write down what we are grateful for. Finally, Ms Marshall talked to us about safety settings on social media and how to use the apps safely and not let them take over you. We went through a sheet together and ensured that our phones’ safety settings were on. Overall, I can say I had a great week! Isabel Taranto

The camp was excellent

I really enjoyed Year 7 Camp; it was fun having a go at all the activities. We participated in canoeing, raft building, tent building, games, and cooking. I particularly enjoyed raft building as you got to work in a group with girls in your Homeroom, working together to build something using the provided materials. After a disappointing start, my team won one of the raft races. We all pulled and paddled and ended the race first! Overall, the camp was a great experience. It was nice to get to know and bond with the girls in my Homeroom. Thérèse Robertson

The camp was excellent. We spent the mornings playing fun games and learning how to set up a campsite. My favourite thing by far was the water events where we made rafts and used the little builder skills that were always inside us. We were thankful for our fantastic guides and how they helped us through all the activities. Isla Taylor

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