East Grade 5 embrace challenge and adventure in Malaysia
By Patrick Renouf, Grade 5 teacher, East Campus
This year, East Grade 5 took their Outdoor Education to a whole new level at the Nomad Adventure Earth Camp in Gopeng, Malaysia. This new camp provided the students with adventurous challenges and put the skills and qualities of the UWCSEA profile into action. Much thanks for this needs to go to Steve Kay, Head of Grade 5, for all his hard work in organising this adventure for the students.
The camp’s ethos is in line with the UWCSEA learning programme and the ideals of Kurt Hahn. The students definitely found more in them than they knew! The first thing the students were introduced to at the camp was the full value contract. This consisted of five points: Respect, Safety, Commitment, Accountability and Fun. Once each of these points had been discussed and groups had agreed to them, then the adventures could begin.
After a hearty lunch it was time to hop into the ‘limousine’ that would transport us to each activity. This was a sturdy flat bed truck, open to the elements, and was a popular mode of transport, especially when it rained. The first stop was the start of the hike up Bukit Batu Putih. After a steep and hot ascent, the children were rewarded with sweeping views across the valley.
On day two the adventure level began to ramp up as the limousine took us to the nearby river. The purpose of the day was to build confidence in the water. The morning was spent jumping into the fast moving water and swimming around low grade rapids across to the opposite bank. More than one child had their resilience put to the test here and even a couple of the teachers had to take a deep breath before taking the plunge! Throughout the whole activity the camp leaders demonstrated high levels of safety, and no matter how the swimming went or how fast the water was moving, it was clear that no one would be spending the night downriver in Kuala Lumpur!
The finale of day two was river rafting in the afternoon. This was a collaborative effort as a combination of teachers, students and camp leaders worked together in small group to get our rafts down the river and back to camp.
The third day at Nomad was the most spectacular. This was the caving adventure day at Gua Tempurung; the largest cave on the Malaysian peninsula. The first half of the cave is a well-lit boardwalk through the awe inspiring cavern. This walk culminated at a platform called “The Roof of The World’. From here we descended a stairway into the pitch black depths to the river running along the floor of the cave. With only our head torches to light our way we made our way back through tunnels back to daylight.
A visit to the Nomad Adventure Mountain School finished off our afternoon. The Mountain School has an assortment of high wire activities that include; a giant swing, a zipline, the leap of faith and also rock climbing. As a participant on the giant swing, I can attest that there is a high level of trust involved as it was my students winching me up high into the air before I let go.
All these activities led to a quiet coachload of content and sleeping children on the way home. The students coming back were not the same ones who had left Singapore only a few days prior. The Grade 5s were now true adventurers who had faced challenges and had helped each other through or found the strength inside to do it for themselves.
Photo credit: Dave Caleb; view more of Dave's stunning photos from the Grade 5 trip to Gopeng, Malaysia