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Camp Week 2022

"Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spe

nd a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." – Amy Poehler.

In Week 5, students in Years 7-10 journeyed to various places across the State to participate in their annual camp week. From Nowra to Sydney, Springwood to Colo, our students enjoyed a week of outdoor activities and challenges that provided a welcome change to their usual weekly routines. I know that over the course of the week, your children were challenged and inspired by both the people they were around and the environment they were in. I wonder did you notice any ‘changed lives’ upon their return?

As a parent and a teacher I am in a privileged position to see camps through a unique lens. I get to see my colleagues and friends, the teachers of OAGS, in the thick of camp week in a way that challenges and inspires me. For many families, Camp Week represents an n-1 scenario. Or, perhaps it’s n-2, or n-3 (sorry for the maths geekery, n represents your normal number of children in the home and the negative integer is how many of them went away on camp!). That’s right, for some families, Camp Week means a week of peace and quiet and a chance to breathe a little more deeply and undertake life with a little less chaos. What a blessing! Camp Week for the teachers is nothing short of extraordinary. While intrinsically rewarding and well worth the effort, I wish to recognise in this article the magnitude of that second word - effort.

From 2am wake ups, to ‘I’ve lost my canoe shoe’, from ‘I can’t eat that sir’, to ‘did you bring a hot water bottle for me?’. From ‘There’s a LEECH ON ME Miss’, to ‘see that wet rock over there sir, yeah that’s my sleeping bag’. From ‘help me find my head torch’ to ‘Oops, here it is in my pocket’. From ‘should this tick still be growing under my arm Sir’? To ‘HUNTSMAN MISS HUNTSMAN’, from ‘there’s a coffee machine here somewhere right’? To, ‘no, but we have weak Tea’...

The effort of the teaching staff on Camp Week is simply inspiring. They don’t do it for the overtime (there isn’t any), they don’t do it for the time in lieu (what’s that?), they don’t do it for the sheer joy of it (3am in wet socks on a bunk bed having consoled a homesick child, again, isn’t bells and whistles). At times, let’s be honest, the reason they do it is because quite simply, they’ve ‘got to do it’.

But out of this reality, another emerges.

They’re also there because they ‘get to do it’.

No teacher who stays in the game does so without a deep sense of calling and impact. Teachers quite simply commit to a lifetime’s investment in young people’s lives. It’s in those challenging moments that our students are inspired without perhaps themselves even knowing it, by the reliable, dependable and subservient presence of the one they affectionately call ‘miiiii-iiiiissssss’!

How often do you hear the stories of camp and they go something like: ‘you should have seen it mum when Mr so and so did’... or ‘we laughed until we cried when Miss tried the …’

Great teachers know that there’s no week like camp week. Because, in the space of a week, it is not uncommon for a lifetime of work to be achieved in the life of a student. At OAGS we have great teachers. So, to the teachers of OAGS who have recently gone, or are soon to go, or will inevitably go ‘on camp’ again. Thank you, and well done. It may be that as a family you might take a moment to reach out and encourage a teacher that you know has made an impact in your child’s life.

Happy Weekend to all. Scott Hazelton Deputy Headmaster


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