Eighty-five Grade 9 boys met on Baxter Field with backpacks, a sleeping bag and a hat. The camp was shifted to early November and the boys were excited to leave the classroom blocks of College and head off into the harsh, yet beautiful conditions of the Eastern Cape, where valuable lessons about yourself are learnt.
Once again the boys were issued with a bivy, a spade, fire grid and kettle. They set up their various campsites after walking the 15 kilometres into the main camp. These camps were scattered around Table Farm and the boys were quick to find cover, make their beds and dig a fire pit to cook boerewors rolls for supper.
The next two days saw the groups complete various activities, the pit, the survivor course, a values discussion, the self-awareness exercise, the Table Farm challenge and a session of fishing where there was more thinking done than fish catching. The aim of these sessions was to give the boys the opportunity to practice skills such as teamwork; perseverance and reflection.
In addition to the formal exercises organised by the staff, the boys had the opportunity to connect around a fire while cooking burgers and porkies. This was done both watching the sunset on the first night and witnessing the beauty of a large cumulonimbus cloud flashing away in the distance on the last evening of camp. The most important thing that an outdoor experience can do is allow boys to make new friends and experience the pure beauty of the outdoors.
A camp of this nature is a success because of the staff that put in their time and effort. A big thank you to Mr Hobson for running the main camp; Mr Searle; Mr van Bergen; Mr Mika; Mr Bradfield and Mr Pienaar for braving the stormy conditions in a leaky journey tent by night and running activities during the day. In addition, thank you to Ms Potgieter; Ms de Lange and Mr Frayne for coming out to run sessions with the boys and to Mr DeSouza and Mr Mchunu for helping out wherever required.
The most critical part of any camp is the food and Mrs Hoefnagels must be thanked for making sure the boys and staff were well fed during their stay at Table Farm. The boys engaged, behaved well and because of their positive attitude the camp was a great success.