News from the Field Studies Centre

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.

Romans 15:5

What a week it has been on the South Coast of NSW.

Monday saw the Field Studies Programme (FSP) 4 students take to the beautiful waters of Burrill Lake on Stand-Up Paddleboards and negotiate the High Rope Challenge at Trees Adventures, in nearby Nowra. The boys relished the opportunity to be in control of some of the challenges that they took on this week. The high ropes course has green, blue and black levels, which facilitates the “challenge by choice” philosophy that is commonly referred to in Outdoor Education. Stand-Up Paddle boarding on Burrill Lake became our default activity choice on the day, due to the prevailing large seas and dangerous surf conditions. Dynamic Risk Assessments are always occurring while programmes are in place at the Field Studies Centre. Staff are trained to continually identify risks and put controls in place to ensure that they are mitigated or eliminated.

The first of the three-day expeditions ran from Tuesday to Thursday this week. Challenges included a 14km beach hike and negotiating tricky conditions while canoeing on the Crookhaven River. Thursday brought wet conditions that required all three activity groups to pull together and work with the appointed student leaders, to finish their respective leg of the journey. Highlights included seeing whales from the cliffs near Currarong, negotiating Gossang’s tunnel, and viewing the Aboriginal sacred sites that can be found just off the Abraham’s Bosom walking track. Encountering challenges is an inevitable part of every boy’s experience while on the FSP. Rest assured though, that support from the dedicated Field Studies Centre staff is never far away.

Due to the recent COVID scare in the Jervis Bay area, we made the tough decision to revert to a virtual experience rather than the face to face Parent Visit this Sunday. The boys accepted the news graciously on Thursday evening, then busily went to work setting up their Video Conference invites and sending them out to parents. The letter writing, both by the boys and their families, has been bordering on prolific during the current residential. And that is a very good thing! I have been encouraged to see the boys take such pleasure in receiving letters from home and impressed by their keenness to reciprocate.  The virtual catch up and letter writing doesn’t quite make up for not being able to meet together this Sunday, but our experience from previous residentials is that seeing loved ones and engaging in the Teams video conference is almost as good as the real thing.

Tim Knowles | Head of the Field Studies Centre (FSC) 


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