On the 18th of November, Grade 10 students embarked on an adventure camp aimed at pushing them to their limits. Beginning in Dubai and finishing off in Dibba, Oman; the four day leadership camp also hoped to improve the team building skills of the students and to make them better team players.
This year’s camp began with a desert Bedouin experience in Dubai. There, the students were treated to a host of activities including dune-bashing, Arabic dancing, traditional Bedouin meals as well as hands-on experiences and lessons in Emirati wildlife, Bedouin culture and astronomy. Not only were they able to engage in the new experiences and learn on their own, they were also able to better understand the culture that they live in in Abu Dhabi. As Mr. Simon, the Grade 10 Dean and coordinator of the camp said, “It was nice to be able to get in touch with the roots of the culture we live in”.
Yet all of that excitement was just the beginning. On the second day of the camp, the students made their way to Dibba. There, the pupils went abseiling, kayaking, and mountain biking in the daytime and took part in challenges at night. Since the activities were completely new for most people, they had a blast trying out new things and testing their limits. The challenges at night were where the students were encouraged to take on leadership roles and to play their part as members of an effective team. This was done through group reflections after every activity for the whole team. The students also took part in a survival activity, which saw them distill and filter their own water, start a fire and cook a fish on their own. Needless to say, that meal was a very tasty one!
Apart from the activities, other factors like the groupings also influenced the students’ experiences at the camp. Speaking on the three groups he had organized everyone in before camp, Mr. Simon said that he was aiming for “a good mix of friendship and new people”. This was done to give the pupils the opportunity to interact with new students and make new friends, yet to also give them a feeling of security with their old friends.
The teachers who brought the students on the camp were also very eager to be there. When asked about why she wanted to come on the trip, Ms Alexander Trotter replied that she ‘wanted to be able to see the grade 10s and interact with them again’. Other teachers went because of experience; an example is Mr. Paul Ede, who says he “has wasta too much”, referring to the ‘connections’ he has accumulated from all previous years at the camp. Despite these differences, all the teachers greatly enjoyed themselves and are “looking forward to many more” camps like this one.
All in all, this camp was a fun and educational break from school; it was also a learning opportunity that represented a milestone in the personal development of all the students who went. They are by no means the first to have enjoyed what Absolute Adventure in Dibba has to offer, as they are part of a Raha tradition that most grade 11s and 12s can identify with, and that grade 9s can look forward to. The wonderful atmosphere at the camp, maintained by the friendly instructors, made the students all feel very welcome. Combining this with the adrenaline rush of trying out a different exciting sport everyday really made this experience a fantastic one to remember!