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Cate in Year 6 wrote this persuasive text to include Year 6 Students in the annual DECV camp.

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Everybody knows camp experiences for students are crucial for strong social development. The enjoyment of the camping adventures provide constructive mingling with classmates, independence from home and allow students to move beyond their comfort zone. It is outrageous that this thrilling experience is not offered to Year 6 students. These students are old enough to enjoy and take advantage of these chances.

Camp experiences are an unbeatable occasion for students of Year 6 and above to interact with students of the same age. DECV was designed for those students who cannot or will not attend main-stream school and therefore are possibly missing out on vital socialising skills, working collaboratively and learning how to deal with difference. A chance like a camp grants DECV students with a significant opportunity to associate with others. The overwhelming relevance of this was driven home at the last DECV Open Day. An address and discussion claimed that being around others who are close, decreases the chances of being gloomy. Too greater an opportunity is currently being missed at DECV by Year 6 students. This must be changed.

It is of major importance to push beyond one’s comfort zone in order to develop responsibility and independence and this is as important for year sixes as for other students. Camp is another perfect occasion to broaden skills beyond one’s comfort zone. A comfort zone is important to expand because of future happiness. People will find that going beyond their comfort zones will not only make them feel good, but will also help them to develop the social skills and increase confidence, enjoying the benefits of learning new talents. Activities such as abseiling, raft building, rock climbing and giant swings can be physically challenging for some people and when frightened or unsure, people tend to stop, not going further than their comfort zone. School camp organizes a safe and exciting opportunity for students to push past that line, trying new activities, having the chance to experience new things and gaining different skills in events they’d never thought about. Activities such as performing around the camp fire, or socialising with new people is the emotionally challenging part that is hard to face every time with confidence. People learn about solving problems themselves without parents or family to run back to. Camp provides safety along with joyful experiences for students.

It is important for Year 6 students to enjoy these camp experiences. These students are old enough and ready to accept the responsibilities that camp encourages and requires. Students of Year 6 have the ability to be responsible. In some schools they are the “buddies” of the prep students, looking after them, helping them to get used to the school system, guiding them to classrooms, and also play with those younger students to help them feel part of the school. Year 6 students are also the Primary School Captains of sport teams and this experience offers those students the chance to build skills and gain maturity, classroom Captains and others depending on the school. These experiences demonstrate that they do have the capacity to be responsible enough to go away to camp. Year 6 students demonstrate their responsibility, therefore needing the bigger, better experiences all of which camp gives. Camp would provide Year 6 students with even greater opportunities to develop their maturity and responsibility.  They are not too young to enjoy these benefits.

It’s really very important that the opportunity to allow Year 6 students on camp is reconsidered. Surely, common sense will win over and year sixes will be able to take advantage of the benefits of camp which other students are currently enjoying.

By Cate C.

Across the Distance enews is the Distance Education Centre Victoria's weekly publication which is sent to all currently enrolled students, their parents and supervisors. Current edition articles can be found on the DECV website home page. Please contact the publisher by email if you would like access to articles from previous enews publications.