Home Outdoor education Students celebrate the end of the outdoor education program

Students celebrate the end of the outdoor education program


By Matthew Sims

A group of West Melbourne students celebrated the end of a 10-day outdoor education program, which saw them develop their life skills and give back to the local community.

A joint initiative of the Outdoor Education Foundation (OEF), Outdoor Education Group (OEG) and Victoria University, the “Together We Grow” program ran from April 19-28 and saw the 50 Pupils aged 14 to 16 travel to Eildon and Marysville before returning west.

Students marked the end of the program with a graduation ceremony at Victoria University’s Footscray Park campus on Thursday, April 28.

The program saw 22 students from Hume and Brimbank take part, while 21 students from Hobsons Bay and Maribyrnong took part.

Participating schools included Sunshine College, Hester Hornbrook Academy, Mount St Joseph’s Girls College, Altona College, Elevation Secondary College, Hume Central Secondary College, Maribyrnong College and Footscray High School.

The program included a bushwalking and camping expedition in Eildon, a stay at a Marysville camp in cabins and a stay in Footscray.

While at Footscray, students participated in a range of community service activities in their area, including preparing meals for homeless charities through OzHarvest and planting local trees at Wyndham.

The group also spent time at Victoria University to learn more about possible career paths after graduating from high school.

Researchers at Victoria University have now begun an independent evaluation of the program based on an asset development framework.

University of Victoria psychology researcher and lecturer Dr Kara Dadswell said while she couldn’t determine what the assessment would reveal, the atmosphere at the graduation was “incredible”.

“I’m still buzzing,” she said.

“One of the mums came over and thanked the OEG reps and said ‘That boy is not my son’.”

Dr Dadswell said the aim now would be to look at all the data to assess how the program is going.

“We want to look at things that could be improved, she said.

Dr Dadswell said one of the focal points of the program was to develop life skills and build resilience in students.

The Outdoor Education Foundation is the charitable arm of the Outdoor Education Group, which is the largest provider of outdoor education for schoolchildren in Australia.

The foundation has provided camps and expeditions for over 1,000 Victorian students since its inception in 2018.