Wesley College offers a remarkable sequence of outdoor experiences that we carefully layer into our school program from Years 3 to 10.
All programs in this sequence share two educational aims. Firstly, we want our students to experience life within a caring and careful community - communal relationships and actions are defining and fundamental aspects of human existence. Secondly, we want our students to experience the delight of the natural world. Sustainable lives are influenced by the personal connections that we develop with the land that we all rely upon, and increasingly affect. With this common direction, we access three distinctive locations to provide programs that are simple, safe and highly accessible.
Conversations with our alumni often start with their most vivid memories of school. Many of these will be drawn from their times on camp. Dolphins that surfaced just offshore, encouragement they received to complete the high-ropes course, the conflicts that were resolved, laughter (and help) when someone sat in their just-cooked spaghetti, or the unexpected sunset that was shared after a day of wild weather. These are valued memories of community, and of a continent, that last their lifetime.
Our Chum Creek property is located in the forests and foothills of the Central Highlands. This region is important, beautiful and bountiful. Here is where Melbourne gets much of its wood, water and recreational space. Proximity to Melbourne makes it a very accessible location for Years 3, 4, 5 and 7 programs, which focus on feeling comfortable within the natural environment, understanding ecological concepts and introducing ways to enjoy the forests within the site.
The Camp Mallana site is on the edge of the Gippsland Lakes. Program days here are shaped by estuarine waters below, the wide sky above, and all the weather and wind in between. Year 6 programs are land-based, while Year 10 students learn how to explore the beautiful waterways safely, using nimble catamarans and sea kayaks.
For Year 8, we travel to Lochend, a coastal property at Cape Bridgewater, near Portland. The Australian population clusters heavily along the coast and the next generation will do more to determine the future of our much-loved coastlines, than any generation present or past. Lochend has been developed as a simple camping base, from which students will enjoy surfing, caving and canoeing activities. On a three-day hike, the students contribute to an ongoing revegetation program.