OUTDOOR EDUCATION STUDIES (OES)

Compulsory, Year long

The Outdoor Programme commences with students camping out and learning the practical and theoretical skills that allow them to safely engage in the challenges presented throughout Term 1. This training culminates with a hike up Mt Timbertop. The remainder of the term involves students undertaking a series of increasingly difficult two-and-a-half-day hikes which take them through the rugged and remote Victorian High Country. These experiences provide opportunities for the students to engage positively with risk, connect them directly with the environment and develop their resilience, independence, and reliance upon each other. The final Three Day Hike presents the first opportunity for students to choose their level of challenge, so by the end of the term they have experienced what it means to survive, and even thrive, all while t the edges of their physical, emotional, and social limits. Term 1 concludes with an overnight solo experience which provides students with some time to reflect on their achievements and growth throughout the Term 1 Outdoor Programme.

In Term 2, students explore new terrain during a four-day Unit-based hike. This trip allows students to focus on the group dynamics of their Unit and provides opportunities for individuals to demonstrate leadership. A second opportunity for a solo experience is provided in Term 2, but with an increased period in which to reflect. A unit-based Rogaine competition, where units race to collect markers around campus and on top of Mt Timbertop, concludes Semester 1 in the outdoors.

Semester 2 begins with students undertaking an overnight Winter Expedition on Mt Stirling, and each Unit sleeps in the GGS Hut. Over this period, they learn the basics of cross-country skiing while exploring a transformed Mt Stirling under a blanket of snow. The adventure then progresses to a four-day Unit-based backcountry expedition on the Bogong High Plains. Students camp on snow and spend their time exploring the Bogong High Plains on skis, digging snow shelters and kitchens, and being fully immersed in the winter alpine environment. Term 3 again culminates in a 24-hour solo experience on campus.

Term 4 enables students to capitalise on their experiences and resilience developed over the year. Students exercise a new level of choice and agency in the Outdoor Programme as they undertake a range of increasingly ambitious and challenging hikes. Punctuating these hikes are a range of trips which expose students to different ways of being in the natural world. Such opportunities include testing a group's capacity to survive living life with minimal equipment, living for three days in a way informed by the traditional Taungurung people, and even a vintage 1960s style 'free range' Timbertop hike. The students then finish their year in the outdoors with a Four Day Hike, which for many involves exploring the distant peaks of Mt McDonald and The Razor-Viking. The year concludes with the Six Day Hike where students plan their own route and logistics to enable them to be entirely self-sufficient as they make one final journey through the Victorian High Country.