The ‘OnTrek’ program was established with Woree State High School in 2015. This expedition based program works with smaller groups of identified secondary students. It needs to be implemented as part of a targeted and holistic program, provided by the school. The ‘wilderness trek’ merely provides the contextual medium for the desired change in students to occur.
For Woree SHS, the 3 day expedition is treated as the culminating activity of a comprehensive ten week program run in partnership with this centre. The Tinaroo Environmental Education Centre assists with a variety of activities, throughout the ten weeks. These include canoeing, raft-building, abseiling and the overnight expedition.
There are a number of rigid parameters that are established to ensure the success of these programs:
- The trek route needs to be long enough and arduous enough to challenge all students
- The staff involved all need to have a similar philosophical understanding of why the program is occurring
- The trek needs to be embedded in a broader program
- Students on the program undertake it on a voluntary basis (there can be no coercion)
- The processing of the experience is critical – facilitators need to have a good understanding of this aspect
The wilderness trek is conducted in an environment in which participants must persist and challenge themselves to complete each day’s walking. The environment, by its nature, is impartial and provides immediate feedback and natural consequences for behaviours. This allows the participants to take full responsibility for their actions without feeling that they are being judged for their actions and, that anything is being imposed on them.
Like all the specialist programs run by the centre there needs to be a highly motivated and enthusiastic teacher in the base school to drive it.
Feedback from this program has been positive:
“The program has really helped me and my fellow friends that are also doing the program. It helps us with teamwork, talking to each other and helping each other. The other things I liked about the program is that we did some fun and creative things such as building a raft, hiking, cooking and seeing new places. I think this program is really helping me with my schoolwork and my self-development — Michael (Year 9)
For more information contact - Bret Crosby at Tinaroo EEC