By Steph McNicol
WANDONG Primary School students have embarked on an adventure this week, taking their entire school to a school camp at Campaspe Downs on Monday.
Since regional Victoria entered step three of the State Government’s roadmap to a COVID-normal on September 16, the school staff have been busily planning a school getaway.
The school’s grade three to six students will be away for two nights, grades one and two children will stay overnight, and foundation students participate in a day camp, returning home after dinner.
Wandong Primary School physical education and camps co-ordinator Callum Fearn said staff were ‘excited and proud’ being able to plan a camp in 2020.
“It’s been such a challenging year and the students have missed out on so many planned events. Our new foundation students and our graduates whose school year is extra special, has been impacted greatly,” he said.
“When we found out the rules and regulations had changed, we immediately started planning with PGL Adventure Camp Campaspe Downs to give our students something special – a memory of 2020 that is not COVID-19.
“The students began planning their cabins and groups the moment term four started. We’ve had lots of positive comments from the community in response the work that has been done to make it happen.
“Our school motto is ‘we make a difference’ and at the end of the day, no matter what world we live in and what challenges we are faced with, it all comes down to the kids. They deserve this camp.”
Ms Fearn said staff tried to ensure the camp didn’t look too different than it would any other year.
“The kids are aware of this new way of living, hand sanitising, face masks, social distancing, etcetera, so having sanitising stations and staff in masks everywhere they go is nothing new to them,” he said.
“The biggest impact is on our parents, who sadly cannot enter the school to drop their campers off and wave goodbye to the buses. They must kiss and drop their camper outside the school and the student then must enter the school independently.
“Once on camp, meal times for groups are staggered to avoid congestion, students are also not allowed to share or swap equipment, including harnesses and life jackets, so that made program planning quite tricky for PGL.
“But they have done an incredible job to comply with all the rules and regulations and Wandong will be the first school undertaking a COVID-safe camp with them.”
Mr Fearn said students could look forward to participating in a range of challenging learning activities to take them out of their comfort zone.
“It’s always challenge by choice, especially when it comes to big-ticket activities like the flying fox, leap of faith and giant swing, which are in fact a huge hit with the grade ones and twos,” he said.
“It’s the best thing in the world watching a tiny six-year-old climb a ladder in a full body harness, get attached to a flying fox, and then jump off the platform.
“It’s so rewarding, we have the best job in the world. Other activities that will occur over the four days include raft building and canoeing, challenge course, rock climbing, possum glider, leap of faith, aero-ball, and bushcraft.”
The camps co-ordinator thanked PGL Campaspe Downs for their support and commitment to providing a COVID-safe camp.