By Rebecca Gibson, Lauren Jones and Hannah Walsh, Year 8 students at Ravenswood School
Nyngan comes alive with a camp like no other.
This week, 130 students and 30 teachers from 10 small schools came together with 10 teachers and 22 students from Sydney schools to enjoy art, dance, drama, music, science, netball, touch football and soccer activities at the Small Schools Super Camp 2015. Students from schools with as few as five students met students from schools with over 1,000 students while students who learn at home, attending Bourke and Walgett School of Distance Education, enjoyed the opportunity to play sport in teams with others of all ages, from all over the state.
‘This is the third bi-annual Small Schools Super Camp,’ said Leone Dewhurst, Principal of Hermidale Public School. ‘It is great to see the camp going from strength to strength, building relationships between students of the various schools and staff. We often meet on sporting fields, which is competitive, but this is a wonderful opportunity to meet together, learn and play together, forming new friendships across communities.’
‘It’s important for students from small schools to socialise with children their own age; for the city students it’s important to experience rural life and for the Uniting Church it’s important that we use our resources to support rural areas,’ said Julie Greig, Rural Chaplain from Hillston.
Primary students from Hermidale, Weilmoringle, Wanaaring, Marra Creek, Enngonia, Gwabegar, Carinda, Quambone and Girilambone Public Schools and Bourke and Walgett School of Distance Education met senior school students from three Sydney schools, Knox College, Pymble Ladies’ College and Ravenswood Schools at the camp. Camp participants are especially grateful to the Bogan Shire Council for providing access to the Nyngan showground and its facilities. Students and teachers have camped in pavilions all week, the oval has been the venue for constant games and hands-on learning has taken place in the open air pavilions.
Caitlyn from Gwabegar plays with Emily from Pymble Ladies College
‘The showground kitchen facilities are wonderful,’ commented Jane van Beek, a teacher from Ravenswood, ‘and the generous team of ‘chefs’ from Gordon and Nyngan Uniting Churches have spoiled us with tasty treats all week.’
‘Everyone in Nyngan has welcomed us so warmly’, she added. ‘Maria, Tammy and Maria in the library helped us to print and laminate camp photos each day and Donna, the Community Development Officer at Bogan Shire Council, printed up a huge map of NSW so we could trace the journeys all the different schools made to come together at Nyngan.’ Judy Neale, a parent who accompanied her children from Weilmoringle Public School, said, ’I think it’s important for kids to get together and enjoy activities like team sports that are not normally available to them at their schools’.
Students have come and gone all week, some leaving camp to compete (successfully!) in State Swimming Competitions in Sydney; others auditioning for the Outback Choir via video conference at Nyngan High School while still others left to attend a Leadership Conference in Sydney.
Zoe Fisher, a student from Ravenswood School, commented, ‘I think this camp is really important because it allows students from small schools to have interactions with students their same age.’
Alice Gough, a Year 3 student from Hermidale, who loved the painting and ceramics art activities on camp, said, ‘It’s good fun and it’s good for your learning.’
Serena Troncoso, a Kindergarten student from Gwebegar, explained what she loves about dance. ‘Dance is the feeling in your heart. It gets faster and slower… and when it changes, you change.’
Artistic learning activities included dance, drama, oil pastel drawing, watercolour painting and creating decorated clay sculptures of small animals. In science, students learned about flight making paper models and created slime and sherbet using household substances.
‘I feel very privileged to be part of the week. I’ve loved watching our Pymble girls in action and the way they have responded very well to a new situation, but I feel we have probably learned more from the locals. Trips like this foster relationships between the schools, and we hope we can build on this and return very soon’, said Fiona, a teacher from Pymble Ladies’ College.