Camp “David” Returns: Building Middle School Connections
by Russ Marston, Principal, Middle School
This fall saw the return of a long-standing Middle School connection: Camp “David.”
The outdoor education experience named for the school’s beloved first Middle School Principal, David Graham, was back on following a two-year hiatus. David Graham held a passionate belief in the power of the outdoors to connect students and staff while building confidence, independence, responsibility and friendship. This year, Middle School students again had the opportunity to break out of the classroom and away from the comforts of home as they headed up island to Camp Qwanoes, just outside of Crofton.
Early in the morning on Tuesday, the buses and luggage van were loaded by a helpful group of Grade 8 students, headcounts were successfully completed, and the buses headed off from GNS. The students were keen. The faculty members were excited (and braced with coffee). The weather was perfect. The scene was set for an amazing camp adventure.
Highlights included the amazing ropes challenge course (featuring “The Screamer” and “The Breathtaker”), the spectacular waterfront where students and staff alike headed out on SUPs and kayaks, or soared into the air off “The Blob”, the crackle of the campfire surrounded by friends under a star-filled sky, and early morning polar bear dips.
Although the activities were fantastic and the weather was beautiful, the true success of the trip lay in the opportunities for growth and connection. For some, this was the first (or one of the first) overnight trip on their own, staying in unfamiliar, “woodsy” surroundings, without the creature comforts and safety net of home. For many, the activities pushed comfort zones and had them digging deep, relying on the support of their classmates for success. For everyone, this was a unique chance to be together from wakeup to lights out, building connections through a shared experience while surrounded by the spectacular beauty of Vancouver Island.
The days flew by, and all too soon it was time to load the bus and head back south across the Malahat to GNS and home. The parking lot was full of eager parents, keen to hear tales of adventure and hijinks that make camp so special. Happy campers headed home for the night, tired and proud, filled with memories and armed with friendships and a new maturity to carry them through the school year. The smiles in the photos from Camp David 2022 speak for themselves: what an amazing way to kick off 2022/2023 at GNS!
We wish to acknowledge and respect the Lekwungen-Speaking Peoples on whose traditional territory we stand, and the Songhees, Esquimalt and Wsáneć Peoples whose historical relationships with the land, where we live, work, play and learn, continue to this day.