This week, Cottage by the Sea welcomed our newest REEF participants who were selected from two separate schools in Wendouree, the most populated suburb located within the City of Ballarat, regional Victoria. 16 Students from Forest Street Primary School and 14 Students from Yuille Park Community College, all of whom are in grade six, took part in their first camp on the two-year program and engaged in an experiential style of learning that focuses on outdoor adventures and group activities.
Our REEF program aims to engage with children and raises their skills, confidence and expectations, thus improving their school attendance – increasing the probability of them remaining in an educational setting, connected with home and community and giving them greater opportunities and stronger control over their own futures.
The program and activities in which the students undertake involves all aspects of ‘Recreation, Education, Environment and Friendship’ and are designed to initiate the young leaders of the future and provide the children with the opportunity to develop to their full potential.
After almost 2 hours on the road on Tuesday morning, our new REEF kids finally arrived in Queenscliff and were soon introduced to all the excited staff before familiarising themselves with the children from the other primary school and with the Cottage itself. After settling in the children and CBTS staff outlined the camp expectations and the REEF program requirements before playing ‘Name Bingo’ so everyone could get to know each other.
For the next few days the staff felt the children were best suited to being separated from their usual school groups and mixed into smaller groups together. Although this usually does not occur on the first REEF camp, but due to the students being rather nervous or unfamiliar around the other school students, the idea proved to be of great success as all the REEF participants engaged happily with one another and connected really well.
Favourite camp activities like swimming, boogie-boarding, surfing, rock-pool rambling and beach-playing had everyone in smiles and testing out each groups teamwork and resilience with one another played a massive part when it came to completing the ‘Carpet-Game’ and the low-ropes course.
Along with being the awesome REEFies they are, these kids are going to be forever famous as they all joined together on Thursday to participate in our Cottage By The Sea “Tutti-frutti” themed promo video, which involved dress-ups, colourful parachute games, some free-time on our awesome playground and of course an epic game of ‘Dye-Dodgeball’!
The staff and children all seemed to have a blast together on their first REEF camp and what a better way to spend last week of term 1 then to be at Cottage by the Sea!