Murwillumbah High School has been using Camp Drewe and it has been the preferred site for our Year 7 Transition Camp for the past eight years. We use the camp for all of our incoming Year 7 students.
Our school receives students from many different feeder schools. This camp is important for the integration of the students into the school and assists us in establishing the culture we want to develop and that we want to permeate through the school for these students for the next 6 years of their education.
Camp Drewe was chosen above several others for the purposes of our Year 7 Transition Camp for a number of reasons.
It is a nonprofit and local camp. We do not want to travel far, as we have students with disabilities who occasionally need to be moved to and from the school, the camp and their family. We also have an interest and an ethos to support our local area. We are not interested in contributing to big corporations that take funds offshore.
We have exclusive use of the facilities. This is important. As with all schools we have a duty of care towards our students, and limiting the use of facilities by outside parties means that we can be sure of the safety of our students. We bring up to 90 people on site, some of these have minor or multiple disabilities. Limiting the access of ‘strangers’ is a significant factor for our students and staff. The design of the camp also allows us to effectively supervise our students. There are clear ‘inbound and out of bounds’ areas that we can monitor effortlessly.
The surrounding setting is clean and peaceful. We can also develop an appreciation of the environment through recycling, the daily weighing of food scraps etc. At Camp Drewe we have access to a number of facilities that are low cost, varied and safe. These include the lake, the beach, ovals and play areas. The dining area and hall are particularly important areas that we use a lot and that many other camps either combine or don’t have.
We have always had the caretaker talk to our students during the visit. This is to encourage spiritual growth and a sense of peace and friendships amongst us all. The messages are always received well by both staff and students.
Self-catering is also an important aspect of us choosing Camp Drewe as our preferred site. It means that we can keep costs very low and therefore, with a number of our students being from Low Socio-Economic backgrounds, almost every student in our Year 7 cohort participates in the camp. We are also able to cater for the individual differences and requirements in regards to the diet of our students, with the minimal amount of inconvenience for them and their parents.
Over the years of our use of Camp Drewe we have seen many modifications and improvements. This has increased the safety and overall ambiance of the camp. It looks a friendly place and has always been hygienic and tidy.
Camp Drewe has become an integral aspect of our school’s Transition Program and the history and memories the students come away with last a life time.