I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Stories From Camp

Each week at Cottage by the Sea is unique. There are new challenges, new achievements and most importantly, new memories. Our recent camp with Tate Street Primary School was one such unique week. We have a long and memorable history with Tate Street Primary School running camps for the past ten years and one of our first REEF groups being from the school.

Being on the coast certainly has its perks. On warm summer days we can go for a swim to cool off, enjoy a walk along the beach on balmy evenings and enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities. Though in the winter months we are often faced with finding alternative activities to keep the kids warm and dry – though that doesn’t stop us going for a swim, and that’s where this story begins. 

The ocean can be a daunting place for a ten year old, especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to swim in it from a young age. It is especially daunting when the waves are crashing, it is a little cold and you are surfing for the first time! 

After carrying our surfboards from the bus to the beach and quick surf lesson on the sand at Ocean Grove beach, it was time to hit the water, but ten year old Lia was less than confident in her ability to enter the surf. “I don’t want to. It’s cold, the waves are scary and I can’t do it!” She said to one of the camp leaders. She was mostly right, it was cold and the waves can be scary if you aren’t accustomed to the beach, but she was wrong about being able to do it… 

Helping her carry her surfboard into the water, camp leader Natalie assured her that she was in safe hands and that if she put her mind to it, that she CAN do it. After a few hesitations, Lia jumped on her surfboard slightly unsure about what to expect. “Here comes the wave”, camp leader Natalie called out and with a gentle push of the board Lia was away. 

What were nerves initially slowly turned to confidence as a smile broadened across Lia’s face. The hoots of encouragement from the fellow camp leaders and kids as Lia glided towards the beach created a magical experience. 

As the wave began to dissipate, Lia jumped of the surfboard and with the smile still on her face turned back to Natalie and asked: “Did you see me do it? Did you?”. Lia instantly grabbed her surfboard and headed back to catch wave after wave. 

Sometimes it is these little moments on a camp that make all the difference to a young person. What often seems like a small and insignificant experience to most, can be a life changing experience for others.