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Last weekend 27 of our Upper School pupils accompanied by 12 members of staff embarked on their first overnight camping expedition to the Ily River near Tamgaly Tas. The pupils have all been training for this expedition through their participation in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award scheme. Our 27 pupils are all completing their Bronze award which requires them to complete a minimum number of hours committed to developing a skill such as cooking, playing music or even cooking as well as a sport and voluntary service. When they have completed this they are then required to complete an assessed expedition. Our pupils all chose to hike and have already completed 2 practice day hikes to Butakovka Gorge and the Butakovka Waterfall respectively.
As part of their weekly CCA they have gained skills in map reading, team work and camp craft such as cooking and outdoor first aid. Our teams worked together fantastically on Saturday hiking and helping each other following various routes to our main camp on the banks of the river. As they all reached camp ahead of time it was time to relax in the sun, cook up dinner and enjoy the camp fire for the evening. On the second day our pupils again were on their feet and hiking. They all hiked out of the gorge and back to the bus before a safe trip home. We have never had such a large group and a more organised one at that. I would usually take this time to identify some stand out pupils from the weekend but there were so many it is hard to choose!
They were all fantastic and such a joy to be around. We are proud of their efforts and we wish them well on the upcoming assessed expedition in a few weeks. We look forward to bringing on board more year 9 pupils next to take on the challenge of their of own Bronze International Award and I hope that many of our current teams will continue this through to the Silver award which is a more exhausting and challenging task!