The New Horizons program at Ruyton Girls’ School focuses on a progression of experiences outside the classroom, which encourages personal growth to help embrace the challenges of our dynamic modern society. Adventure and challenge allow the individual to develop a greater understanding of their strength and character: the importance of being a positive, active member of a community with a practical understanding of the natural world.
The Junior School camps give the girls the opportunity to develop a sense of belonging and there is a focus on connecting with the natural world. Year 3 girls catch Puffing Billy to Wombat Corner in Emerald – a fantastic way to start a camp. Year 4 girls travel to a camp at Anglesea, where there is emphasis on team building and developing confidence. At Sovereign Hill Year 5 girls explore the natural world through hands on activities and study the history of the Australian gold rush, while wearing period dress. Year 6 girls tour Canberra, consolidating knowledge acquired in the classroom and helping it to come alive. In Senior School, from Year 7 camp through to the opportunity to display leadership in Year 11 and Year 12, each experience is designed to allow the girls to consolidate their skills and knowledge.
In Year 8 there are two expeditions, one in Term 1 to build on the Year 7 camp experience and one in Term 4, to develop specific outdoors skills in preparation for the Year 9 camp. Entitled the Summit Program, this is an important personal development initiative, culminating in a major expedition at the end of Year 9 for all girls.
By Year 10 the girls are able to select from a range of experiences, specifically an expedition to Central Australia, a rafting trip and an exchange to a school overseas (locations now include schools in the UK, France, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and China).
By Year 11 and 12 the girls work together to create positive, inclusive communities and foster leadership.
The Snowy River rafting trip – a true adventure
A group of Year 10 girls, a bunch of river guides, Mr S and Ms G shared an adventure on the Snowy River late last year. The trip started in New South Wales and finished in East Gippsland. A total distance of 123km of the river was rafted, a little over 100 major rapids negotiated (in fine rafting style) all taking a total of 10 days.
The rapids provided the high-end adventure of the trip. Many of the bigger ones had names, such as George’s Mistake and the Washing Machine! Over the first few days on the river we all learnt how the water moves as it is forced down between the rocks and drops. We also learnt what to do with our paddles and raft to avoid swims and flips. Most of this came down to teamwork: picking the right ‘line’ down is a skill, and one that was developed by all.
The trip also offered other opportunities. The section of river rafted is remote, with little access. It is wilderness. There was no phone coverage, no Wi-Fi, no regular plumbing, no electricity. In many ways life on the river was a lot simpler: it was good to disconnect from the modern digital world for a while and enjoy the ‘here and now’ of the trip.
Everything for 22 people to live and travel on the river needed to be organised and carried on the rafts. Food, tents, tarps, cooking gear, personal gear, repair kits, dry bags, wetsuits, Personal Flotation Devices, helmets … there was no room for excess luggage! This is a unique way to live and offers many challenges. It only works when everyone pitches in.
The highlight of this trip for me was the way in which the girls embraced all the challenges and were able to enjoy and appreciate the experience. For 10 days we saw no other people. We were independent and able to rely on each other. It was a real and memorable adventure.
Mr Darren Saunder, director of Outdoor Education
As an independent, forward thinking girls’ school, Ruyton is committed to preparing girls for a lifetime of learning, leadership and […]