Imagine being in year 7 in 2020 and 2021… The excitement of moving from Primary School to Secondary School. Or what about being in year 6 and missing the end of primary school. For those coming into year 7, it was about the anticipation of new friends, a different structure, new teachers, and new subjects. In year 6 it was the Rite Of Passage as you pass from one stage of your life to the next. Imagine looking forward to heading off on camps to build new relationships and friendships in year 6 it was about confirming old friendships.

What a letdown and disappointment it must have been. If your kids were lucky, they had the opportunity to have some of these experiences early in the year, but we know many didn’t. We know that students in year 7 and 8, in particular, have missed many of the early secondary bonding experiences, the opportunity to develop many of that confidence, self-reliance, and social experiences that provide a basis for good social, emotional, and academic skill development that helps with their journey through secondary school. For primary students, they have missed the end of a critical part of their education.

As a parent of a student in year 7, I have seen this every day. At what point is it normal for kids to interact through the two-dimensional world of a computer screen. Be stuck inside a house for 20 hours a day. Spending their time chasing gremlins and defending make-believe societies.

As a parent I want my child outside, I want them to be breathing fresh air, running around in the wild, exercising the freedom that has been missing from his life. I want him to get out of the cave he calls a bedroom. I want him to leave the iPod, Ipad, Tablet, Computer, and phone on his desk and get out on a bike or walking, or swimming, or surfing, or canoeing. It doesn’t have to be high risk or provide instant gratification (think giant swing). But it does have to be outside and away from the confines of the past two years.

What can we do to help? We can’t fix the losses that have come from not being at school and with friends, but we can offer your school an opportunity to provide a camp experience for year 5, 6, 7, and 8 students. This would be an opportunity for the kids to start resetting their lives, starting to re-establish normal, starting to learn to live a life where things are more controlled by them rather than the fear of the almost invisible.

Maybe 2022 and 2023 is a time to reflect on the value of learning stuff and perhaps we need to bias towards doing stuff. I believe in these years we should reset and give every child from year 5 to 8 (at least) the opportunity to be outside with friends building all those social and emotional skills we have been saying are important.

Auscamp Adventures, Anglesea Valley Lodge (Wensleydale) Nillahcootie Camp (Barjarg), and Charnwood (Strathbogies) still have some vacancies in 2022. Our programs can be tailored to do exactly what we have outlined above.