Year 10 Camp is always a special occasion for new Year 10 students at QACI as it is the official start of their journey as a QACI student and community member.
Year 10 student Elizabeth Pico Gonzalez provides her reflection of what exactly took place for the three days that students spent getting to know each other.
Let's take a trip back to Week 1 of 2019. I woke up bright and early to make my way to school for camp and I was feeling excited for the week's events – a 3-day camp filled with strangers and a whole lot of small talk! Just kidding, I was actually really nervous to meet so many new people. So off I went, half-asleep with my dad complaining about the music I was playing (everyone's biggest fear when manning the AUX cord). Since I was an early arrival there was only another couple of kids in my group already there, so we began talking and getting to know each other. After about an hour there was at least 10 of us trying to hold a conversation all at once, needless to say there was a lot of confusion. At this point we're on the bus and so far, so good – except for the super long bus ride (Glad I brought my earphones! – no they're not air pods :/). After about an hour and a half (maybe even two hours?!), we finally get to Alexandra Heads! Of course, the very first thing we did was have morning tea. Right after that we were split into teams and were sent off on "The Great Race". We were rolling, throwing, catching and launching all kinds of things. Honestly, it was really fun – it was also midday (it was very, very hot).
After an amazing lunch we went off in our house groups to something very "secret" – Aquafest practice! We then got changed for the "Beach Olympics". We ran, we eliminated our enemies, we fell over, we dug holes, we crawled under holes, we cheered, we swam between the red flags – but, the question remains, who won? In fact, that raises yet another question - is there even a winner? Then, only 2 hours after a huge lunch, the camp staff realised we must have been absolutely ravenous and fed us again – I mean, we're not complaining. So now, we're tired, we're full, BUT we've got free time! We talked, we chilled, we laughed, and we got ready for dinner. To follow yet another great meal, the House Managers wanted to talk to us a bit about their QACI Journey and give us some great advice (shout-out to you guys, you really inspired a lot of us). Our next activity involved getting to know each other outside of our camp/cabin groups. We were split into two circles, a small circle inside a larger one, and were rotated around so we could talk to new people. This time it was a lot easier talking to new people, getting past the small talk and getting to know them that little deeper. After some nice chats with a few new friends, we were taught a bit more about the QACI culture and supporting each other – with "Big-up's". Essentially, to give someone a Big-up you stand up and tell the other campers something kind they did for you or for others. It was uplifting, to say the least, seeing just how many people were doing such kind things for others and seeing the gratitude and appreciation they were receiving in return. After some mindfulness activities and some reflection time we were off to bed.
Just as quick as we drifted asleep, we woke up. After a lovely breakfast, we were sent off for our next activity – "Domino Theory". The Character Builders (activity planners) gave us a lot of dominoes and we went off into groups to build one, very, very long domino chain – if we were able to set off the dominoes only at the start of the chain, successfully have them topple each other as the chain progressed and used every domino provided, we would win some pizza. Sadly, we did not win. After that we swapped with the other group for the "Balloo Balloo Tower" activity (no, I didn't make that up). Our challenge here, 'armed' with 2 pumps and 30 balloons, was to build the tallest balloon tower in the room – we actually did pretty well, I think we built fourth/fifth tallest tower. We did lose a couple of balloons – but, that's a price we were willing to pay. We had a quick break for morning tea and were given our next task – "The Bigger Picture". We were given some time to create some art that told a little bit of our story and then we each added our art to create our Connect group's 'Bigger Picture', hence the name. Then after lunch, in our Connect groups we went to a nice, shady spot and made our selves comfortable. Now, it was our turn to really tell our story (as long as we were comfortable sharing). Going into this, everyone was a little nervous - What if we overshare? What if we don't share enough? What is everyone else going to say? What is everyone else going to think? Afterwards, I think we all felt so much more connected. We reached this new level of friendship and appreciation but most importantly we understood each other better. Sharing our stories was daunting for a lot of us but it definitely brought us closer together. After another lot of activities (Aquafest, Swimming, Free Time & Dinner) we grabbed a seat, kicked back and relaxed as we watched the Talent Show. Now when I say talent, I mean it – how are there so many insanely talented people in one place? Then, as if the Talent Show wasn't entertainment enough, next up was the Rave! The rave was the highlight of camp. There is nothing more fun than dancing, jumping and singing (screaming) along to my favourite songs with my friends. We had so much fun at the rave, I "sang" (screamed) so much that I pretty much lost my voice by the end of the night. After a super tiring rave, I think we were all ready to get some sleep.
Wow, how time flies – how could it already be the last day of camp? After we had our breakfast and packed our cabins up, we were off to one of our last activities: The Pipe Line challenge. Each Connect group was given some pipelines, tape, a ping-pong ball and about an hour to create a track. To win you had to: have your ball continuously move through the track for the longest amount of time (compared to the other groups' times), use every single pipeline and have a maximum of two people touching/holding the pipelines. We tested our track a lot, perfecting it, making final touch-ups, taping and tilting pipelines until we ran out of time - but alas, it was all in vain. Oh well, we might not have won but we still had great fun! So, after a not-so discouraging loss we had morning tea and were given our very last camp activity, writing a letter to our future selves. This was a relaxing way to reflect on camp and our lives before QACI, set goals for the year and make strategies to improve and grow. Personally, this was one of my favourite activities - mostly because it's crazy that I'll read that at the end of the year knowing it was me who wrote that only some months ago (kind of feels like time travelling). After a lot of writing and reflection we had our last camp meal and set off for home. Camp was an amazing experience. Not only for meeting and making friends, having fun and joking around but also for personal growth and reflection. QACI Camp was unlike any other camp I've ever been on before, but in the best way possible.
Thank you to every single person involved in making the 2019 Year 10 QACI Camp so great!
Article written by Elizabeth Pico Gonzalez - Year 10