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Before you choose a camp, consider:

  • the purpose of the camp and desired outcomes
  • links with learning
  • style of camp.

Identify the purpose

Camps can enhance learning in many ways. Consider what you want students to have achieved at the end of the program. Defining the camp’s purpose will help you plan and ensure the experience is a success for everyone.

Camps offer a range of activities to help students connect to the environment and develop skills such as:

  • building independence through being away from home
  • building on new and existing relationships with peers
  • self-awareness and self-development
  • confidence
  • communication and social skills
  • resilience
  • teamwork and collaboration with peers
  • problem-solving and decision-making
  • leadership
  • hands-on learning
  • school connectedness.

Most camp providers can provide curriculum-based reference materials. Work with your camp provider to ensure the program relates to your learning priorities.

The most common Victorian Curriculum links can be found in Health and Physical Education and Personal and Social Capabilities at each level and focus on:

  • personal, social and community health
  • movement and physical activity
  • self-awareness and management

Other common Curriculum areas include Geography and The Arts. Camps are also an opportunity to explore cross-curriculum priorities such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and sustainability.

The Outdoors Victoria Learning in the Outdoors ToolkitExternal Link provides curriculum linked activities and ideas to use as part of your school camp experience.

Style of camp

There are two main styles of camps:

  • Residential
  • Journey based

Residential camps

Residential or ‘hard top’ camps provide comfortable shared cabin or dormitory accommodation (with separate teacher accommodation), bathrooms, dining rooms, undercover group meeting areas and outdoor activities.

Residential camps can be run for students of all ages and abilities.

Journey-based camps

Best suited to: Older students with some outdoor experience.
Also known as: Expedition camps.

These programs often involve multi-day group camping in a semi-wilderness setting.

Journeys usually travel from point A to point B using one or more forms of travel. Activities can include hiking, canoeing, rafting or mountain biking.

Camp providers customise each program to meet student needs. They work with teachers to link the program with the curriculum, learning outcomes and student capability.

Journey camps offer learning through experience in immersive outdoor adventure. Students learn to cooperate with their peers to achieve:

  • personal growth, resilience, and empowerment
  • connection to nature and environmental awareness
  • sense of community, teamwork, and social cohesion
  • life-long skills and memories.

Outdoors Victoria has a comprehensive guide to journey-based programs (Outdoors Victoria website)External Link .

Questions to ask when choosing a camp

The Australian Camps Association has a handy checklist of questions to ask at Organising a camp made easy (Australian Camps Association website)External Link .

Reviewed 25 July 2022

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