NZ School students have another week off before they return to the classrooms, but not before they were given the opportunity to enjoy the school holidays properly – outdoors and in nature! Just like the school-aged participants that enjoyed our 11 day, South Island Discovery School Holiday program that finished up in the middle of the second week of the Victorian School Holidays – What an adventure!
As our group of students waved goodbye to their parents as the sun was coming up at Melbourne Airport on Saturday the 22nd of September, they turned and walked nervously towards the gate, not knowing each other very well, if at all.
Guided and supervised by our highly trained qualified education staff [ with a coffee in hand ] the 10 to 17 year old’s were about to embark on a life changing and unforgettable experience.
11 days together in a foreign country, away from mum and dad [ or perhaps the other way around]
Unlike most holiday programs available for children, OutBeyond programs are real-camps. Not half-day holiday programs that call themselves camps.
Our camps are multi-day and travel-based, meaning that your students or children are in the care of our company from anywhere between 4 nights, to 14 nights depending on the program and the destination. Our camps are student-led, and from the very beginning we allow students to be involved in the planning stages of their program by attending pre-departure planning sessions with our staff to learn about the destination country, the culture, the day to day management and the ways in which our program differs from other school camp experiences that they may have had in the past. Most importantly, this is where the ownership of our program is handed over to the participants, and it becomes their responsibility.
Our staff, also known as program coordinators, educators and facilitators, still manage the overarching safety, wellbeing and logistics of the program, however the students have a perceived ownership of the camp.
As the participants began their descent into Queenstown, those lucky enough to be sitting window-seat were grabbing for their smartphones so that they could snap a photo of the majestic landscape awaiting them below. One of the staff members pointed South towards a snow-covered basin and indicated to the children, that within less than 24 hours they would be skiing and snowboarding The Remarkables, before also reminding the students that after touching down at the terminal, their phones would be kept in a secure dry-bag for the majority of the camp. They kept snapping away.
Upon exiting the arrival gate, the team were greeted by more OutBeyond staff members whose New Zealand base, makes for a true and authentic kiwiana experience.
Nau mai, haere mai Welcome. The students were briefed on expectations before they boarded the bus and travelled to the first few nights camp site. Team roles were then assigned, and we began by travelling to a cliff top lookout point to tell the story of what the next few days had instore for us.
Over the course of the 11 days the participant journey or hikoi (pronounced ‘hee-koy’) looped the South Island of New Zealand, travelling clockwise beginning and ending in Queenstown. Students not only had a lot of fun, they learnt invaluable life skills such as teamwork, communication, problem solving and leadership.
Activities included: Bushwalking (tramping), Camping in the Snow, Skiing, Snowboarding, White water Rafting, Cooking, Maori Cultural activities such as Pounamu, Staying at a Marae and learning about tikanga, Abseiling and Rock Climbing, financial management, mountain climbing, navigating, swimming and much more!
Our Discovery program (regardless of country or destination) focuses on the exploration of iconic tourism, camping and adventure destinations. With our tailored approach to learning, OutBeyond program participants are given the opportunity to create, plan and manage most elements of their own journey, allowing participants to develop key life skills such as leadership, teamwork, critical thinking and creativity through experiential education.
On the final night, students were asked to give a key presentation to the group on what they had learnt, and experienced during their time in New Zealand in OutBeyonds discovery program.
Here is some feedback from the students:
“The best camp I have ever been on!”
“The scenery was so beautiful and the outbeyond staff we very helpful, friendly and nice”
“It helped me complete my Duke of Edinburgh International award”
“We purchased and cooked most of the food which was fun. Except for when we ate out at restaurants - that was delicious”
The recent September 2018 program received an enormous amount of positive feedback from students, parents and from all those involved.
As parents waited in anticipation at Melbourne airport on the 2nd October [ 11 days after waving them off ] for their arrival, so did staff from our Melbourne base as they shared stories of what they had seen and heard from our NZ facilitators and in our Holiday Camp parents Photo Portal, which kept parents updated with daily photographs of their children’s daily activities and travels.
“It was great to know our kids were safe and in the hands of professionals. The way the program lets the students take an active responsibility is fantastic. The holiday camp portal had many great activity photos but my favourite showed my two boys cleaning the windows and floors at camp - I can’t wait to see them do the same at home” - Sharon (Mother)
“The outbeyond management team were very good at their timely communication, they are all very professional and caring and my son really enjoyed his time on camp!” - Rochelle (Mother)
“My son returned from camp a changed person, I haven’t stopped raving to all of my networks. He has gained a sense of adventure and a taste for travel. He has gained confidence in making friends and participating in future events where he may not know everyone. He has enjoyed every second of the camp. Can't wait to go to the next one.” - Naureen (Mother)
"Wonderful program - educational and fun and fabulous leaders who had a really positive influence on my son" - Parent
"I am amazed at how well you handled our kids. It can be tough at times". - Parent
With summer fast approaching and the shortest term in the year kicking off, don’t forget to plan for the December and January school holidays now.
If you’re looking for quality outdoor educational experiences for your children, aged between 10 - 17 years old, then look no further. We’ve got school holiday camps happening in Australia, New Zealand and China over the next 3 school holiday periods.