The first cohort of Year 9 students at our Yuulong residential campus are just over halfway through their experience. Over the past few weeks, students have become accustomed to their early morning exercise routine, running around the campus at sunrise, surfing at Apollo Bay and growing their cooking skills with chef and mentor, Sue.
While at Yuulong, students have been building on life skills that they’ll take home with them. These include completing CPR, defib and surf rescue training with Surfing Victoria, participating in community living and outdoor education classes and hosting music performances in front of the cohort to develop their confidence in a live setting.
Last week, the students completed a two-day prep-hike. Dropped off at Marengo Bay, they hiked through to Elliott River before being transported to a campground where they spent the night. Cooking on trangias, their pasta meal was a real hit for dinner.
On the second day, students hiked 13.5km back from Blanker Bay to Elliott River. The journey was a great opportunity for the students to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, work as a team and surprise themselves at what they were capable of achieving.
This week, two groups of students headed off on their three-day hike. Group one was dropped off at Milanesia access track and will hike through to Ryans Den before moving onto Devil’s Kitchen. The group will finish their journey at the 12 Apostles. The second group commenced their hike at Ryan’s Den and will hike through to a private camp ground where they will spend the night. This group will then go onto Princetown before finishing their third day of hiking also at the 12 Apostles.
Back on campus, the remaining students headed to Kennett River to volunteer in coastal restoration and management. Students helped clear the dunes of sea spurge which invades the coast line and limits the growth of natural flora. In alignment with their community and environmental sustainability learnings, their volunteerism proves a great opportunity for students to further immerse themselves into the wider Yuulong and Great Ocean Road community. Now, they are preparing to head off on their 24-hour solo experience, a pivotal part of their time at Yuulong.
We are so proud of the start this group of students have made and their commitment to learning, making new friends and taking care of each other. They have well and truly settled in to their temporary home away from home and we look forward to them sharing more exciting stories with us upon their return.