News From the Field Studies Centredeveloper
The final weeks of the Field Studies Programme incorporate a pinnacle expedition where the boys get to put all the outdoor and leadership skills they have learned into action, as they traverse the ruggedly beautiful terrain of Morton National Park. The FSP staff increasingly take a facilitation role in these final weeks as they allow the boys to guide their own expeditions and make key decisions that relate to the route, timing, side trips and scheduled breaks. Unseasonably strong westerly winds meant that some of the paddling activities had to be modified on the first two days of the expedition. The boys have continued to demonstrate resilience and adaptability as plans were modified to accommodate these changes. We often talk to young people about the importance of building resilience, but it is the opportunity to work through a real life challenge or setback that truly develops this disposition.
Each young man writes a reflection on their time on the FSP which is recorded on the front page of their end of term report. This process gives the boys another opportunity to share their voice. The depth of the reflections on their time at Woollamia continue to impress me each term. The boys will often share challenges, highlights and takeaways from their immersive term of learning on the FSP and in doing so, create a record of their experience that is durable and lasting. Combined with their personal reflections in their journal and the letters they write to their family and their ‘future selves’, the boys will have a number of reminders of their time at Woollamia that complement the memories that they each hold in their minds.
The days following the final expedition provide each boy with an opportunity to rest, reflect and in many ways, acknowledge just how much they have achieved. The students from each of the pastoral groups enjoy reconnecting and sharing their experiences with one another when back ‘home’ at the Field Studies Centre. Following an afternoon of exploring the values journey that they have been on during the term, the students will come together with their tutors on Tuesday evening next week for a final cook out and fireside debrief. It amazes me just how comfortable the boys become in the outdoor environment and in terms of sharing their thoughts and reflections with each other by the end of the FSP. The campfire circle provides a safe space to share and look back on achievements and to provide feedback to their peers. It is a place where the boys can be themselves and connect deeply with others.
As we come to the end of an incredible year of learning and the conclusion of the fourth term-long Field Studies Programme for 2022, every Year 9 boy at Trinity will have journeyed through an incredible rite of passage experience. Each boy will have been challenged and supported and each will have grown both in independence and interdependence. I look forward to seeing each of the young men who have graduated from the Field Studies Programme traverse the Senior School years and apply their learning from the FSP to future challenges.