The Girls’ School Year 7 and 8 Camp to McLaren Fall

March 05, 2021 at 1:54 PM

With thanks to Director of Sport Miss Richards and Year 7 and 8 students, Emma Liu and Isabel Gilbert

The week prior to camp, Auckland found itself back in Level 3 Lockdown. Were months of planning now unnecessary? Anxious girls waited patiently for the green light.  By Monday morning, the girls lucky enough made their way McLaren Falls in Tauranga.

By midday, the girls were dropped off at the bottom of McLarens Fall Park, where they were greeted by PE and Sport Coordinator, Mrs Rowson and Director of Sport, Miss Richards. As they walked through the park towards our campsite, the girls were reminded of how privileged they were to be in such spectacular surroundings during such unusual times.

At the end of a large incline, the girls scouted the campsite, finding a pile of tents, a large marquee, a row of porta loos and several outdoor showers. It was fair to say, the camp amenities were basic. McLaren Falls is not your average ‘cookie cutter’ camp and is designed to provide an abundance of challenges, where the girls are pushed out of their comfort zone within a safe and supportive environment. Independent thinking, problem solving, and teamwork are paramount.

While the sun was warm, energy levels high and fingers-crossed, the girls started working together to set up camp. The girls enjoyed a relaxing afternoon getting themselves familiar with their surroundings before enjoying an early dinner. This was then followed by a night of entertaining House skits and songs. Points are awarded and Chalmers secures the win. To end each camp night, a game of spotlight was played and was always a highlight for the girls.

At camp, days started early. With the coffee machine for staff and parents working overtime, the girls prepared themselves for the day. Breakfast was served outdoors. Dishes were washed in soapy buckets and lunch was prepared in an assembly line.

Day two was House Challenges.  The girls moved around McLaren Falls in Houses, performing four set challenges. Here, they were marked for teamwork, manners and House spirit. Wishart secured the win with Chalmers following close behind.

In the evenings, classes were split for a variety of night time activities: Glow worming caves in large canoes, Burma trails and team building games, followed by more spotlight.

Day three, Year 7 headed off to Waimarino Water Park for a day of team building exercises and water safety activities.  Year 8 headed to Poripori Water Holes to experience river hopping, followed by kayaking back at McLarens Falls.

Day four was camp pack down for Year 7. Tired, happy girls packed up and returned to the luxuries of home, taking with them a wealth of lifetime lessons. At the same time, the Year 8 girls made their way towards Mount Maunganui to attend surf lessons, beach activities and a Mount climb to capture the view. Resilience was tested for some. The girls enjoyed their final afternoon water sliding.

Friday seemed to roll around quickly. Before the girls knew it, it was time to pack up camp.

With the remarkable help and support of the eleven parent helpers and seven staff members, this ‘unconventional’ camp would not be possible. A huge thank you to the 2021 camp team! You worked tirelessly to help make this camp a success and provide lifelong memories for the girls.

Here is what students Emma and Isabel had to say: 

Year 7 Recount by Emma Liu 
Lock down, lock down! Right between the 2 lock downs we experienced some freedom, going to camp. On the 22nd of February 2021, the Year 7 and 8s went to camp. There were lots of mixed feelings, personally there was 20% nervousness because of all the new things, and the rest was me being scared knowing that we would not be able to shower! Putting aside the worries, we went onto the buses ready for a 3-hour drive. 

On House challenge day, we did lots of fun challenges including minute to win it, tying knots, catapults and the taskmaster challenge. At around 7o’clock 7BMH went glow worming. We got into pairs and started to paddle down the river on a big waka. We soon arrived in a big cave and saw lots of glow worms. We learnt that the worm itself doesn’t glow; their poop does AMAZING. We also learnt some Maori legends explaining the birth of glow worms. 

On the third day, all the Year 7s went to Waimarino Water Park. It was a blast! There was a hydro slide, a tarzan swing, a mini blob also know as the UFO and the ultimate BLOB. We also did some additional things such as kayaking, low ropes, rock climbing, jumping off diving boards and a fun slippin slide. My favourite activity was the UFO because it wasn’t as intimidating as the real blob.  

The food was great too. On Tuesday, the Year 7s made chicken burgers “mmmm”.  On the next day, the Year 8s made Nachos for dinner. Overall, camp was a great experience! I was challenged but did my best. I cannot wait for next year’s so I can experience the Year 8 activities.

Year 8 Recount by Isabel Gilbert 
After 3 days of lockdown, we were all ecstatic to be going to camp at McLaren Falls. A 3-hour bus ride and trek up the hill later we arrived at the expansive campsite. Tents were pitched, rules set and a waterslide up and running. In the evening was the hilarious house skit challenge where Chalmers was victorious with their past and present teachers house skit.

The next few days were jam-packed with challenging experiences and memories to be treasured. Awoken by an enthusiastic ‘Good Morning’, we all bustled to get ready for House activities. There were 4 rotations and each House strived to get House points through communicating, House spirit and manners. The activities were a Taskmaster Challenge, learning to tie knots, teamwork activities and catapults. Wishart had an outstanding day winning all stations and overall points.

Wednesday, we split into year levels. Year 7 went to Waimarino Water Park while Year 8 went Rock Hopping. Rock hop was challenging, as we plummeted 2-3 metres into the numbing river. We spent 2 hours clambering over rocks and floating slowly down the river. A quick lunch and on to stand-up paddle boarding. We were exhausted by bedtime.  

In the morning, the Year 7’s packed up their tents and went home. Meanwhile Year 8 went to Mount Maunganui for surfing and climbing up the mountain. Surfing was fun, first we had to carry the boards to the beach and do some safety, next we learnt how to stand up on the board while on the beach. After that we all ran off to the ocean to give it a go, we caught lots of waves and many people stood up on their boards. That night we packed down our tents as we spent our last night singing songs and sleeping in marquees feeling like sardines.

In the morning, we loaded onto the buses all feeling exhausted but pleased at the spectacular week we’d had. A gigantic thanks to all the parents and staff who help with this memorable experience. Especially Miss Richards, who spent many long days and nights organising everything for us. 

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