The Great Aussie Camp out is an initiative to create a greater awareness and interest in camping and the outdoors. The focus is on families and communities (re)connecting with the outdoors.
Why take part?
The Great Aussie Camp Out (GACO) is an ideal opportunity to:
- Connect with the local community
- Raise the profile of your school to families and the local community
- Support and participate in an inaugural outdoor event in Australia
- Open up a new education stream – outdoor recreation and environmental education
- Provide a way for students to:
- Experience camping
- Have fun
- Connect with the nature and the outdoors
- View the school as an enjoyable environment
How to motivate and encourage student involvement
A key element to a successful Great Aussie Camp Out is participants. Some simple ways to get students involved in, and excited could include:
- Identify key student champions
- Involve students in designing and running your school GACO campsite
- Promote GACO in your school diary, at assemblies, in newsletters ...
- Incorporate camping & outdoor related topics into class curriculum
- Promote GACO to the Parents and Friends (P&F) groups
Involve other community groups as GACO campsite partners – ie Scouts, the local camping shop ...
If you have a school oval or large flat area, toilet facilities, water, barbeques or cookout space, then as a school you have what you need to provide an ideal GACO campsite and the opportunity to be part of an exciting national event.
By incorporating Great Aussie Camp Out related topics into class curriculum the students will learn new skills and gain new knowledge. For example, consider:
- Health and Physical Education: Teamwork, outdoor activities, camping
- Geography: minimal impact camping & its benefits, the effects on the environment if minimal impact techniques are not used.
- English: Write your own scary camp story or write a poem about a previous camp adventure
- History: Early explorers and Aboriginal camping methods
- Art: The outdoors as inspiration, art from natural materials
How to get staff members involved
A successful Great Aussie Camp Out will come from full staff support.
- Identify key staff member champions
- Encourage staff members to be actively involve with GACO and schedule time to plan appropriately
- Communicate ongoing progress to all staff - meetings , email, newsletters and intranet
What are the responsibilities of a campsite organiser?
- Register your school campsite at the GACO website
- Provide a suitable area for participants to camp – consider numbers, noise, environmental damage
- Provide a suitable water supply, toilet and rubbish collection facilities
- Consider appropriate risk management strategies – knowledeable staff, security, emergency plans, access, first aid, bad weather ...
- Consider hosting a large group meal – BBQ or camp cooking
- Consider suitable activities for students and others – games, singalongs, nature awareness
The official GACO website has a range of Info Fact Sheets and links to other useful sites.