College Year 9 Camp

March 03, 2021 at 4:58 PM

With thanks to Mr Al Ronberg, TIC Year 9 Camp

There is nothing like running a camp during this global pandemic to keep you glued to the daily updates from Ms Ardern and Dr Bloomfield! The timing of the two lockdowns of recent times, effectively makes the fact that we were able to go on Year 9 camp between the two, a minor miracle! Unfortunately, Year 7 are not so fortunate, with their camp now cancelled – a disappointment for our newest College students.

One of the first things that we like to communicate to families and staff around this exciting opportunity for our Year 9 students, is the WHY of camp. Our biggest intake of students comes in Year 9 – with students coming together from our own Year 8, our Boys’ School and Girls’ School and many other schools across Auckland. Students are mixed in Tutor Groups in their Houses and camp provides an opportunity for tutors and students to form a bond that will ensure the next five years together contributes positively to their wellbeing.

Year 9 camp is held at Totara Springs in Matamata. This location provides a vast array of activities that ensure students are engaged and occupied for the whole time they are at camp. One of the real assets to building an enjoyable experience is our Peer Support leaders. These Year 13 Students run activities, share their College experiences and act as valuable role-models for our Year 9s.

This year’s programme was tightly packed with water activities, team-building opportunities and some truly adventurous experiences. Almost without exception, you will hear that students greatly appreciated the variety of waterslides in the hot Waikato sun and the scary idea of sleeping in a shelter that they had constructed themselves.


Here’s what our Year 9 students had to say about their camp experience:

Year 9 camp was awesome! For me camp was mainly about learning new skills and building on the skills I already have. I had fun, made new friendships and really got to know my tutor group. Camp picked me up and threw me out of my comfort zone. I had some fun times and some adrenaline filled moments. My favourite part of camp was the huge selection of water slides. Seeing the slide leading into the cold, cold river sent a chill down my spine. I didn’t regret giving it a shot! Although it wasn’t my favourite activity, the crate climb was the activity that threw me the furthest out of my comfort zone. As we began the activity, I was challenged by the instructor to beat the school record of 23 crates stacked up. I was also thinking about the all-time record for touching the gym roof. I took these challenges on board and decided to give it my best shot. After about 20 crates I knew it was game time and then the last few crates seemed to put themselves in the right place for me. Standing on 30 crates I felt victorious with my hand on the roof. I looked over at my tutor group and smiled because they were all cheering for me. I wish camp could have gone on for another week. The time flew by and it was a great way to set me up for 2021.

Edward Nixon – 9ALR2

Overall, camp was a really great experience and I encourage the Year 8s next year to participate in all of the activities there. The activities were really fun. From archery to the waterslides, camp was a real rollercoaster of events. I especially recommend the waterslides as they were the most fun to go on. Camp was a good bonding experience with my tutor group, as when you spend all of your time for half a week with them, it's impossible not to! I learnt so many new things and habits about my tutor group that I probably wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t come. I really suggest taking this opportunity as you really get to bond and share memories with each other. I genuinely feel closer to everyone after camp than before. In conclusion, camp was amazing, and the activities were so entertaining. Just don’t get stuck on bathroom duty!  

Emily Qian – 9SHS6

Year 9 Camp was probably one of the best school camps I’ve ever been on, with a wide range of activities spread all through day. As soon as we arrived at the camp, activities started immediately after an introduction. I started with the rock wall, which was fun (I actually achieved a new personal record for rock climbing height), although other people started things like hydro slides, archery and long ball. The activities were definitely the highlight of camp, as many were water-related, which was great in the hot sun. Another awesome part about camp was actually getting to know my tutor group better, as before camp we barely knew each other at all. I found it quite refreshing to talk heaps with people who didn’t know me super well, like most people I currently talk to do. All in all camp was a fun, refreshing and just all around a marvellous experience for me.

William Martin – 9JJN3

Year 9 camp was exciting! It was full of different activities from abseiling to raft making to campfires at the end of a long day. My most memorable activities were when I got to go down the massive water slide where my face got sprayed with water from every bump I passed. The Canadian slide was another unforgettable activity because it was a water slide but at the end you got flicked up into the sky before landing in the freezing water of the pond below. There were a few challenges I had to overcome while at camp, one being the abseil. You don’t get to lean off a cliff every day! I was scared to go at first but once I was halfway down the cliff and had no choice but to keep going, I ended up having a lot of fun. Year 9 camp was full of excitement, laughs and unforgettable moments.

Sienna McCarthy - 9SAP1

As this was my first camp at Saint Kentigern College, I didn't know what to expect so I kept an open mind. When we arrived at camp, the first activity was one of the waterslides. It fun and got me tired after waking up and sliding down several times. Later, we went on to do kayaking, which was also fun. The next activity was the 'Canadian' waterslide. The walk there was far, but the slide was worth it. We started at the top and as we went to the bottom it curved and launched us in the air into a river. That night we went tenting and I was happy that my tent didn't collapse. Overall, camp was amazing and I would love to do it again. 

Saif Ebrahim – 9YSS3

On Monday the 22nd of February, Stark, Hamilton and Wishart houses were fortunate enough to go to Totara Springs Christian Camp in Matamata for our three-day Year 9 Camp. At camp, each tutor group did a total of eleven activities. Some of these activities included archery, kayaking, raft making, canadian slide, abseiling, water slide/pools, sponge, flying fox, crate climb, giant slide/hydro slide, rock wall climb, soft archery, team rescue and longball. As well as doing most of these activities, on our last night we also had a bonfire and set up a tent as a Tutor Group! We were given 2 tarpaulins, 16 pegs and some rope to build our tent and then we slept in it the whole night! This was a great team building experience and even though some of the tents collapsed in the middle of the night, we were lucky enough to sleep under the beautiful stars! Going to camp was AMAZING and we all built positive, long lasting relationships with our peers, tutor group, tutor teacher and peer supports leaders. We feel very privileged to have experienced this in our current climate with COVID-19.

Hannah Anderson and Stella Liu – 9SXM5

All of Year 9 was so fortunate to be able to successfully make it to Totara Springs camp just before the Auckland Level 3 lockdown! Everyone enjoyed spending time with their tutor groups and getting to know each other better. Camping in self-built tents may have been a struggle for some, but it was a great opportunity to learn vital survival skills while improving on our communication, cooperation, and teamwork. All the wild activities at camp were a blast – rock climbing, archery, raft building - even abseiling down a 14-metre cliff! Like it says in the name, Totara Springs is built on top of natural hot water springs, meaning there was a wonderful hot pool and many hot water slides for us to enjoy, and the Canadian waterslide even had a jump at the bottom! We are all so grateful for the amazing experience – which wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome teachers, peer support and camp staff supporting us, ‘packing our parachutes’, and making sure we had a great time.

Lucas Alward - 9JOW6

I had a great time at Totara Springs for Year 9 camp and the activities there were very engaging and enjoyable. I got to learn more about my tutor group and it turns out I had a lot in common with them. Some activities were very challenging because we had to face our fears or do something out of the ordinary, like abseiling. The first activity that we did was team rescue, and that activity really helped my tutor group work together and achieve the goal that was set. Overall Year 9 camp is definitely going to be one of my highlights for the year and I really liked getting to know more people and making new friends at a new school while doing cool activities. 

Emma Zheng - 9SAP1

would like to thank the following people who have ensured that we were able to operate a safe and exciting camp for our students.

  • The Year 13 Peer Support Leaders who played an important part in the running of camp
  • Mr Richard Tucker who supports the Peer Support programme over the week of camp
  • Mr Will Gage-Brown who sets up our Camping area and ensures everyone is SAFE.
  • Mr Chris Duncan who supports Mr Gage-Brown
  • Our Year 9 Tutors who were outstanding in support of our students
  • Ms Barbara Warne who supports our Peer Support students on their training day
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