7 August 2015

Relationship brings Winter Mapleton to life

Posted in Camp life

The picturesque Sunshine Coast hinterland is home to stunning views, lush landscapes and cosy villages – truly an ideal winter getaway. It is also home to something even more special, SU QLD’s annual Winter Mapleton camp.

Camp leader and local chaplain, Sam Henley (pictured), says it’s more than the beautiful surrounds that makes the annual camp such a popular event in the SU QLD camping calendar.Mapleton Adventure Camp 2015-10-2

“At Mapleton, the activities are special. They’re all about challenging your fears and doing things that you wouldn’t normally do. I like that you can encourage the children in your group who are terrified of heights and watch them go from being terrified to getting involved and really enjoying themselves,” says Sam.

“I love just watching kids grow throughout the week. Each year I’ve come, a real highlight has just been watching the kids grow from Monday to Friday, learn something about themselves and really challenge themselves.”

From the big swing, to the flying fox, to abseiling, archery, bush skills and canoeing, there are plenty of opportunities to do something that you wouldn’t normally do in your day-to-day life.

“The kids get to push themselves and do things they don’t normally get the opportunity to do and may never get to try again. The leaders get involved as well which is good too. Because with school camps, it’s more about supervision but our camp is about relationship building and testing yourself on the adventure activities,” says Rachel Bhagnatar, Winter Mapleton Co-Director.

But these occasions and opportunities can only be enjoyed temporarily. It’s the close relationships built as you hang together 15 metres off the ground that continue, even when camp comes to an end. Whilst spending a week together is great in itself, the real magic of Winter Mapleton happens when the young people get back to school and are now great friends with their chaplain.

“Yeah, camp is an awesome way to get to know the young people. I think at least half the leaders here are chaplains. I think it’s just such a good way to build relationship with the young people that are at your school. Because you spend such an intense amount of time with them on the holidays so when you get back to school, you can just go from where you left off. And you know them so well already,” says Sam.

The relationships that are built on camp are quite often the direct result of both leaders and campers enjoying the adventure activities together.  Winter Mapleton Co-Director, Jeff Howard agrees.

“I think the whole success of any camp is due almost solely to your leadership team. If they’re not fully engaged and enjoying themselves, kids quickly see through this,” says Jeff.

“Like for one of our night activities, we had a Nerf Wars game in the hall and the leaders all loved it. [They were] running around shooting each other, jumping under mattresses and having heaps of fun and the kids loved it.”

Mapleton Adventure Camp 2015-21-2Building relationships and connecting on the same level, rather than a hierarchy consisting of leaders at one level and campers at another, allows the campers to have more fun and make friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

“I remember one year – one of the feedback forms that we get the campers to fill out – one of the girls wrote that what she really liked about camp was that she saw the leaders having fun. It’s great for the campers to see the adults having fun and the environment is not all about rules and what you can’t do,” says Rachel.

Winter Mapleton will be back in 2016. To register your interest in volunteering or attending next year, please email info@sucamps.org.au or call 1300 478 753.

Simeon Lawson

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