School Holiday Camps

July 2008 Survivor Camp Review

The July School Holiday Survivor Camp at Hinze Dam was by far the most brutal Survivor yet.  Using a campsite which only had the very basics meant that the participants were camping out in true survivor-style.  A cold snap also coincided with the camp, so once everyone moved away from the awesome fires they created, they were faced with bitterly cold sleeping conditions.  But the thing was, they loved it, and they never complained once!  They were an incredible bunch of young boys and girls and it was so good to be involved with a group who displayed such resilience.

There was torrential rain the night before and heavy rain in the morning of day one, which had a few parents nervous, but thankfully the rain stopped after the initial group briefing and it cleared for the remainder of the camp.  Once the rain was gone, the group proceeded to erect their tents and establish their camp base.  Tribes were formed and tribe flags created which signalled the commencement of the game.  The group was involved in a variety of activities which included open fire cooking, raft building, canoeing, shelter building and fishing in the electric powered boats.  The fishing was a little slow mainly due to the cold conditions and the wind that was blowing, and I think the fact that the kids enjoy driving the boats so much, that at times it proves difficult to get them to actually fish.  However, the group managed to catch enough fish to feed themselves for dinner.  As part of Survivor, the group not only had to catch their fish, but they had to prepare it for dinner as well, and it was great to see even the eight year olds really keen to be involved in this process.  The fishing was conducted in the far upper reaches of the dam.  The group fished using live shrimp as bait and managed to catch Australian bass, with the largest measuring 44cm.  These big bass were also full of roe, which was also saved for an ultimate survivor challenge.  Unfortunately, there are no photos of these catches due to the fact that my camera is now on the bottom of the Dam…it’s a long story!

The final day activities included ‘Damper on a Stick’ over the hot coals, ‘Billy Boiling’, ‘Rice Cooking’ and ‘Scavenger Hunt’.  The kids loved the damper and they were able to use the fire that they had created and used the night before for much appreciated warmth.  They spread some syrup over the damper to sweeten the experience.

The billy boiling and rice cooking proved to be a challenge and the survivors realised that it was more difficult than first thought.

The Scavenger Hunt activity prescribed that the tribe had to use their bodies and minds to find ten items.  The requested items were varied and tested their perseverance skills.  The survivors also learned a little bush first aid by ‘making a splint’ for an injured person.

There were plenty of new activities on this camp, which ensures past participants aren’t merely repeating the same camp.  There were plenty of past participants too, and one boy, Daniel, was on his 5th Survivor Camp, which was great to see.

Even though the boys out-numbered the girls on this camp, the leading four contenders, one from each tribe, were all girls…Kelsey & Stacey from Brigidine College and Grace & Hannah from Somerville House.  The Ultimate Survivor Challenges required the girls to test their strength, speed, endurance, fire skills and cooking.

The concluding stages of the camp were the highlight for the four girls voted by their peers to represent their tribe.  Their goal was to become the Ultimate Survivor.  The first challenge was to melt a rope by making a fire.  There was no shortage of experience with fires on this camp and this was of benefit to the four challengers as they had fires burning in no time.  Next came cooking some fish roe from the fish caught the day before.  It was recommended the girls cook their roe well-done, but in fact most of the girls had it rare, if not raw.  This turned a few stomachs, not of the challengers, but of the spectators.  The four girls showed mettle and composure to eat the caviar.  The next event was the ‘log hold’, which tested the strength of the girls.  However, it was not the physically strongest that won this challenge and it proved to be all mental strength.  The next was a run from the dam to the campsite up a steep incline.  Finally, a trivia challenge based on the camp experience took place where the wits of the survivors were pitted against each other.  It was fitting that each of the competitors won one of the challenges and it was a very close count for all four girls.  The eventual winner was Kelsey who was very deserving as she showed great survivor traits throughout the week – even swimming in the very cold water at Hinze Dam to rescue a canoe that drifted away.  It was Kelsey’s 4th Survivor Camp and it was a thoroughly deserved victory.  Kelsey was presented with a Wilson fishing rod, SureCatch reel, fishing line, together with the following that the leading tribe members also received; SureCatch tackle box, Wilson fishing cap, stickers, Bush n Beach Fishing Magazine, McDonald’s voucher, knots book, and a learn to fish DVD from DPI & F.  The leading tribe also received McDonald’s vouchers and there were other reward prizes for the group as well.  A very special thank you to L. Wilson & Co, McDonalds, DPI & F and Bush n Beach Fishing for supplying the prizes.