School Holiday Camps

January 2009 Survivor Camp Review

Fishing the tranquil waters of Hinze Dam, which is only accessible by using an electric motor or paddle power, ensures the fishing experience is extremely peaceful.  As you fish, you sit back, relax and enjoy the magnificent environment you’re in, and in the process you have the chance to land Australian bass, yellowbelly, silver perch, saratoga and Mary River cod.  In all weather conditions, you can find a suitable location on the dam to fish.  The far upper reaches of both the eastern and western arms are well protected and therefore become an obvious choice when the wind is really blowing.  The dam has so much to offer in general and during every school holiday period there is always plenty of activities offered for the kids too.

During the last school holidays, Sports Tuition conducted a Survivor Camp for 8-13 year olds.  There were 69 in the group.  Camping at Hinze on private grounds enabled everyone easy access to the water, and the kids really enjoyed the fact that they had to create their own tent city.  Their first job was to erect the tents, and once these were up, the groups were split into tribes, and commenced a range of adventure activities.

When it was time to fish, the tribes fished close by and had plenty of success with some great bass and yellowbelly being caught.  The fishing setup requires the kids to take ownership of the experience.  They have to drive the Quintrex boats, which are powered by Minn Kota electric motors and they have to bait their own hook with a live shrimp.  Dipping their hand in the live shrimp container often sorts a few out, but once they realise the shrimp won’t bite their hand off, they get down to the business of catching their fish for dinner.  The biggest surprise of the fishing sessions was the number of yellowbelly caught, and every yellow was about 42cm in length.  The main species caught at Hinze is Australian bass, but the yellows certainly provided some exciting fishing moments for the group.  The kids basically fished opposite the Numinbah boat ramp, which has quite deep drops off along the bank.  If you’re a couple of metres from the bank, you’ll find yourself in about 10m of water.  Some of the groups moved around the first corner and fished some of the points of the small inlets, but that’s about as far as they had to travel, before they enjoyed some success with some fantastic fish being landed.

The Sports Tuition survivor camps are always varied, which is one of the keys to why past participants keep returning.  One boy was on his seventh survivor camp which is testament to the variety always offered.   It’s important the kids get to experience a range of activities so they aren’t merely repeating the same camp.  The tribes competed in canoeing and raft building challenges and they also enjoyed a hike through freshwater running creeks which enter the dam and a number of other challenge activities too, but one of the more enjoyable components, and new to this camp, was the open fire cooking.  There’s been plenty of open fire cooking in the past in the form of preparing rice or damper, but on this occasion, it was the kids’ responsibility to prepare a couple of meals.  Using portable BBQ grills, the kids had to first gather enough wood so they could stoke their fires and get some heat into the hot plates.  Each tribe was allocated their own BBQ plate and designated cooking area, and the experience enabled quite a few to display leadership skills and I am sure the cooks earned some valuable points at tribal council for their efforts in assisting feeding their tribe members.  On day one the group was responsible for cooking their hamburger meat patties for lunch and the following morning they had the job of cooking their bacon and egg muffins.  It really added to the camping experience and the kids’ desire and enthusiasm to do it well, was awesome.

A very special thank you to McDonald’s and L. Wilson & Co. for providing the majority of prizes for the survivor camp.  Prize packs included soccer balls, AFL balls, net balls, caps, water bottles, learn to fish DVD’s, knots books, Bush n Beach Fishing Magazine and a range of stickers.  There were a few 100 piece Angler’s Choice tackle box give-a-ways for random acts of kindness too.  After three days of camp, it came down to the leading four contenders to play off for the Ultimate Survivor prize.  They were Lachie from Churchie, Nick from St Laurence’s College, Ben from Emmanuel College and Tayla from St Hilda’s Girls’ School.  After compiling points from a number of mini challenges which tested strength, endurance, camping skills, and key ones which highlighted social skills in terms of how many people they got to know and the challenge of using the brain when tired to complete puzzles from their camp booklets.   It is actually quite unusual for someone to win on their first attempt at Survivor, but on this occasion it did happen, and it was Ben from Emmanuel College taking out the Ultimate Survivor prize.  Ben was a very popular winner and he was presented a SureCatch rod and reel combo as part of his prize, together with a rousing ovation from all the other participants, which typified the spirit in which the camp was conducted. 

Chelsea picked up this great yellowbelly on the school holiday survivor camp.

There were some great bass caught on the survivor camp too. Keegan caught this 46cm bass opposite the Numinbah boat ramp using live shrimp as bait.

Yellowbelly were really on the bite during the kids' survivor camp. Cameron with another one which measured 42cm.

Lachie & Declan cooking some bacon & eggs for breakfast to feed their tribe on survivor camp.