“Miss Wright, Miss Wright, can you tell us about camp please?”

“Will there be big bedrooms?”

“Miss Wright, Do we all sleep in the same room?”

“How thick will the doonas be?”

These were just a few of the questions excitedly thrown by the WELS students to their teacher Miss Wright in the weeks leading up to camp at Cottage by the Sea.

We welcomed 19 students from various international backgrounds on Tuesday. Upon seeing all the freshly made beds with hand-knitted toys perched upon their pillows, the children all squealed and were evidently delighted.

“Oh my goodness, are they for us!?”

Their enthusiasm was infectious.

Miss Wright explained that this camp had been VERY highly anticipated over the past few months. Their curriculum was centred on learning about aquatic environments. They had recently been taught about beach safety. The semester was now culminating in school camp to visit the Bellarine Peninsula.

We kicked off camp with numerous games to learn names and build rapport. This fostered a lovely environment. 

Early Wednesday morning the children were up, ready and primed for the first full day of camp. At breakfast we were informed by Miss Wright that two of the young girls were overcome with enthusiasm and excitement during the night, anticipating the day ahead; at 2.30am, two young girls were, wide awake, dressed, backpacks packed and ready to begin their day. We were charmed by their eagerness. Miss Wright was of a different opinion.

The morning started properly a 7am. Breakfast and the promise of swimming at the beach gave all the children an enormous buzz! They consequently carried around this energy and vigour with them all day. After locating and donning a wetsuit, the children played dye dodgeball on the Cottage basketball courts. This was a brilliant activity. They were then instructed on safety and taught how to swim between the flags. We marched excitedly down to Cottage Beach with the sun shining fervently and warming our backs. Time passed very quickly! The children had an absolutely ball playing in the surf and on the sand. The weather was particularly lovely all day so after lunch, we travelled to Barwon Heads, explored the rock-pools and walked around the Bluff. Magnificent views greeted us in all directions. This was a fantastic learning opportunity for students – they recognised many creatures that they had recently been learning about at school and applied this knowledge to the activity.  The students should be commended on their conduct. They all played harmoniously and enjoyed each other’s company.

The gorgeous weather continued Thursday morning. We walked to the Marine Discovery Centre at 10am and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of learning about sea creatures and touching aquatic life in the touch-tank. The staff at MDC allowed the students the opportunity to see the fish being fed worms. We visited Point Lonsdale; enjoyed seeing the lighthouse up close and personal, running laps around its base and trekking beneath the rock walls of the surrounding cliffs. The children wandered along the pier, taking in the brilliant surroundings and were even fortunate enough to observe a local fisherman catch an enormous salmon! We visited the 360Q Tower and spent the afternoon exploring the Queenscliff Marina. Eyes were peeled for sting-rays, fish and any other aquatic animals. 

Friday morning was wet and dreary for the students last day at camp. The rain had pounded the Cottage roof all night however the children slept soundly, exhausted from their escapades. We took this opportunity to write letters home to parents – the children described their experiences and drew pictures for their families before jumping on the cottage bus and driving to local post box to personally mail out their letters. Bags were packed, loaded on to the buses and goodbyes were said.

We thoroughly enjoyed their delightful presence. So appreciative and respectful, we would be more than happy to have the children from WELS back again soon!