Our annual Year 8 camp was another fantastic success. After leaving the hustle and bustle of leafy suburban London both groups arrived safely at New Park in the heart of the idyllic and peaceful New Forest. Group 2 even managed to bump into Pudsey Bear whilst stopping off at Fleet Services and were very generous with their donations.
The camp has been running for years and this year we had a number of boys whose fathers attended camp when they were Year 8 students at Beths! The students engaged in a range of activities from cycling, canoeing, and orienteering to name but a few. Each of the groups spent one of their camp days preparing breakfast and dinner for the rest of the camp. This was a military operation and the boys rose to the challenge under close supervision from Miss Dennis and Mr Temple. I did, however, feel rather sympathetic for the groups making the shepherd’s pie for 100 hungry campers. The potato peeling seemed endless and with a shortage of potato peelers a number of boys resulted to peeling them with a spoon! Once dinner was complete it was time for washing up duty. I can confirm that all of your sons are now perfectly educated in the art of washing up so there should never be any issues with them not doing it at home. I spent the weekend with group 1 and the full week with group 2 campers. The boys got really involved in the activities and the competitive spirit pushed the boys to their limits. They all demonstrated leadership skills, the ability to think logically and the all-important ability to work as a team. I was really impressed with how they all got fully engaged and stuck into the activities.
The boys worked extremely well in supporting each other as, for some students, being away from home for a week can be a difficult experience. I think with the vast range of engaging activities many did not have the time to dwell on missing home but I can confirm that many boys spoke fondly of looking forward to seeing their parents and families again.
I am sure your son has already filled you in about the activities as well as the antics and mysteries of Year 8 camp. Each will have their own individual stories to tell so I will leave it up to them to fill you in about each activity. For me a personal highlight was how sociable the boys were and how well they integrated with each other. The boys did not mention missing a phone once and as soon as they arrived they spent the week playing games in the fresh country air, and most importantly, speaking to one another face to face.
Beths Grammar School is an academic school, however we consider the social development of our students of equal importance. Many of you will hear of schools advertising how they “educate the whole child” however I really believe that Year 8 camp is the embodiment of educating children outside the standard academic curriculum as it teaches our boys essential skills which they need to be the confident and sociable young men they will be when they leave us.
When the groups went into Lyndhurst on their expedition we received glowing feedback from the shop assistants on how polite, well-mannered and well behaved our students were. Again, it is moments like this that make me incredibly proud to be head of what is a fantastic year group. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the members of staff who helped to make activities weeks a very special experience for your son. Without them none of this would have happened. In particular Mr Temple deserves a special mention for his sheer hard work in operating camp. Logistically activities week can prove very difficult and I cannot begin to explain to you the amount of preparation involved in providing these activities. However the reward of seeing 192 very happy boys at the end of it all makes it very worthwhile. Many thanks also to you as parents for intrusting us with your son for a week. All boys were extremely well prepared.