End of Year Camp at Castlemaine

by Hagan Mathews

Another year has come and gone, and with it, many camps. As always we spent our last week of school relaxing at some far off campsite, eating well-prepared but poorly planned meals, playing cricket, going on long walks, lazing in our tents, and, always, chatting chatting chatting to each other.

We visited Castlemaine this year, a nice little tree-changer’s town that used to be a gold rush hub. The campsite is next to the lush and cool-aired botanic gardens, the municipal pool, and an enormous sports field. The pool was a welcome feature of the camp, especially on Tuesday afternoon when the sun was out and particularly warm.

But Alia camps are not an activity filled bustle. Plenty happens, sure, but not everyone does everything. Some went on a ghost tour on Tuesday night. Some played Laser Skirmish in Bendigo on Wednesday afternoon. Some played cricket at every opportunity. Others played an eight or nine hour (there was some debate) game of Talisman. A hardy group trekked 18 kilometres from Castlemaine to Maldon. A wild bunch took one of the minibuses for a late night ride to listen to the latest album from student band Creepy Flavour. Whatever we did, it was fun. And whatever we didn’t do, we didn’t get too hung up about.

The first hour of Talisman, before almost everybody died three times each.

On the last Whole School Meeting of the year we farewelled our Year 12 students for the last time, and new school captains were anointed. As has become tradition since the first (and now lost) Alia school captain badge was minted on a camp back in 2006, each year the school captain or captains chooses a student (usually from the upper year levels) to carry on the tradition of not having any particular responsibilities but being a significant contributor whenever there are responsibilities to be had. Next year, Hex will be taking on this role, supported by two vice-captains.

We also said farewell to Kirsty Kain, someone we hope we will be seeing again. Kirsty started working at Alia in 2004, and is credited with building the school health program, establishing links with Headspace and the Boroondara Youth Services, and, at times, simply holding the school together by virtue of her efforts. She will be missed, and because of this, not forgotten. All the best to her for whatever comes next.

With such thoughts of the past and the future, the camp and the school year, 2017, ended. Enjoy your holidays everyone. We look forward to doing it all again and more, next year.