The first four weeks of the school year has been nothing short of eventful for the students of St. Edmund’s College. In these opening weeks students have been given opportunities to immerse themselves in the tradition and culture that has been so proudly aligned with Eddies for 66 years. The most recent form of this immersion in the school community came in the form of Years 7, 10 and 12 each going on retreat to various locations. Retreats and camps are excellent ways for students to build and develop relationships with their peers and staff, exploring new and perhaps unfamiliar activities as well as escaping the pressures that are derived from the classroom. I guarantee that each student, regardless of where they went, returned home being more confident or having a few newfound relationships in their lives.
The Year 7 cohort, having just begun their high school journey, departed to Tathra and enjoyed building new friendships by participating in activities such as team rescue, flying fox, archery, raft building and surfing. Each of these activities promised to push the boys outside of their comfort zones and warranted teamwork and collaboration in order to achieve closer relationships with their peers. The boys spoke fondly of their time surfing as it is something that we are not often exposed to in Canberra.
The Year 10 Camp was hosted at Belanglo State Forest, where the boys in attendance were definitely pushed beyond where they were comfortable by participating new activities whilst in a camping environment. The boys had to develop survival strategies by preparing each other’s meals, setting up tents and participating in activities such as abseiling and canoeing. Activities such as these forced the students to rely on the strength of their relationships in activities that were perhaps daunting or unfamiliar for most.
The final retreat that occurred was the annual Year 12 Retreat where the boys were encouraged to be vulnerable and participate in each of the exercises with an open mind. The theme of ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’ encouraged us to reflect upon the events and the people that have added meaning to our lives until this point as well as motivating us to consider our futures beyond school. This process of reflection and goal setting was an extremely beneficial tool for us to recognise the influence of our decisions and our potential to control our behaviour. This was presented to us in a number of different ways, the most significant of which was through our faith and through our relationships with others.
Going on retreat allows us as students to continue to solidify the established sense of brotherhood amongst each of the cohorts. As someone who participated on one of the retreats, I would like to thank the staff for their extensive planning and behind-the-scenes work to ensure that each of the boys were able to take something away from their respective camps. I am personally looking forward to the upcoming swimming and athletics carnivals, as they are a good opportunity to showcase both house and school spirit.
Patrick McFarlane (Vice Captain-Mission)