Leadership Camp 2017

By OBHS | Posted: Sunday December 10, 2017

On Friday the 1st of December, more than thirty year 12 students arrived at Otago Boys High School ready to embark on a long bus trip all the way up to the Matukituki Valley, home to the pristine OBHS lodge. It was a much anticipated trip, along with it being a great event to signify the end of our long senior year.

When we arrived in the Matukituki Valley, we instantly felt the change in climate. A warm, dusty valley lay ahead of us, and we had a 50 minute walk into the Aspiring Lodge. The lodge would be where we would spend most of our time throughout this camp. In other words it was a home away from home.

Aspiring Lodge was built by students at Otago Boys’ High School in the 1970s, when they had to carry and load many resources across the valley to build a fine lodge. This lodge is a large part of the recreational and developed history of Otago Boys’, and it was a privilege for all of us to stay for another week at the lodge, after we first came here in year 10.

On the first day we hiked through the Matukituki Valley, via a bridge crossing, to reach the lodge where you instantly became immersed in the environment around you. We made it to the lodge and unpacked more resources before sorting out everything that needed to be done (duties, bunk rooms). Then we moved on to an activity, led by Ms Rabbidge, who demonstrated to us the five key models of leadership; Sharing the Vision, Modelling the Way, Enabling Others to Act, Encouraging the Heart, and Challenging the Process. These were key models that we applied throughout this camp, and it helped us to strive further as leaders within a group. Thus this enabled us to think deeper about what leadership really is.

On Sunday, we did three of four team building activities: raft building with Hamish Cooper, team building activities with Mr Odgers, Team building with Ms Rabbidge and Orienteering with Mr Zani. These were done in House Groups (McIndoe, Aspinall, Saxton, and Park), and the students would learn to rely on each other’s leaderships to make the best out of the overnight. This would be one of the first times where we would need to be able to apply leadership skills on the camp, and the whole process of learning new leadership qualities made the activities rewarding.

On the third day of our camp, we headed off for the overnight camp, where we would stay for two days. This involved an 18km trek to our destination of Pearl Flat, where the boys set up a camp for a two night stay. We were given a limited amount of resources to use at the campsite, and this meant we had to work as a group to make sure that nothing was wasted. This was where we had to challenge the process of living in an abnormal environment. There were mixed results with the cooking, which would teach the boys to appreciate the quality of food they eat every day in their normal daily lives. Before going to bed, we would gather around a fire, made by some of the students, and share stories and talk about our experiences.

The next day, we hiked to Liverpool Hut. Overall, the journey was challenging and exhausting. There were lots of steep climbs and uneven paths that led us to the top of the 1.8km mountain where the hut was situated. Although it was incredibly tiring, completing the journey gave us a great sense of accomplishment. We challenged the process of the difficult climb to the hut, and succeeded.

On the fifth day of camp, we returned to our lodge in the afternoon. We left in the morning from Pearl Flat and started the journey back to our home away from home. The journey was easier than the first trip, however it was by no means easy. We were already in a physically drained state and also mentally deprived. However, this made the walk back to the lodge even more rewarding. Although we were tired when we came back, the boys needed to do the necessary unpacking and tidying before having time to rest.

The second to last day of camp involved lots of relaxation time. However this did not mean that we did have any chores or duties. The boys needed to do their work properly and concentrate on what they were doing at all times. After chores were done, we went to Raspberry Falls where the boys had a fun time jumping into the cool water on the sunny day.

The last day of camp was all about packing up and making sure the lodge was clean. By making sure these two actions were intact, we were able to make sure that the lodge would be in fine condition for next year’s students to use. After a long week we were all looking forward to going home and appreciating the little things in life.

On a whole, this camp helped us to appreciate the wants that are scarce in an isolated area. In these situations we learnt that leadership would take us far in life, and in the most important circumstances. After all, Otago Boys’ High School is all about building a ‘Heart of Oak’ in boys and this camp did exactly this.

Josh Lewis and Sean Woo

Words from the 2018 Head Boy

Over the seven days that we have spent here, we have come together as a group. Through shared experiences and overcoming challenging obstacles, such as the limited amounts of food on the overnight or swimming in beautiful mountain waterholes, we now know each other’s strengths along with our weaknesses. Theory sessions and group discussions each night have showed us what is required to be an effective leader and how to gel together as a team. 

This camp has prepared and given us the necessary skills to make positive changes in our school next year, such as fully utilising the vertical form class format and setting an energetic, productive atmosphere across all year groups. 

We are all excited to begin 2018 and to see what impact we can have.

Tim Dippie

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