Education: Kristin School
Kristin Camp Week
An International Perspective
Camp Week at Kristin is one of the biggest student experiences on the calendar and is looked forward to by the 1200 students who simultaneously head out into the mountains, the beaches, the islands or the wilderness. From Year 7 to 13, students are challenged to leave the comforts of home behind, engage with their classmates in challenging activities and to push their own limits in the unique environment of Camp Week.
The excitement and anticipation grows rapidly in the weeks leading up to camp as teachers and students alike rush to get their equipment ready, their groups sorted and the logistical requirements finalised. Amongst the frenzy are the international students who are faced with one of the biggest challenges of their time at Kristin. Unlike many Kiwi kids, these visitors have never experienced the outdoors quite like this. Camping, cooking in the open and extreme teambuilding activities become daunting experiences when combined with language barriers and culture shock.
Equipment is the first challenge for these individuals, who find themselves faced with an equipment list that makes little sense to them; thermals and woolly socks in summer, cooking equipment and non-perishable food, sleeping bags, tents, wetsuits and hiking boots. These supplies must be borrowed or sourced from the Kristin community so that by the time they hop on the bus or ferry, everyone is fully equipped and ready to go.
The International Services team knows that the wide eyed, nervous and often shy students, who head off to camp with little understanding of what is in store for them, always arrive back with a new sense of belonging, achievement and stronger bonds with their classmates. The focus on Camp Week at Kristin is about cooperation and, for international students who can struggle with feelings of isolation, this provides the perfect platform for team building and integration into their class groups.
This year, 41 international students took part in 15 different camps. Amongst this group was Yoshi Kawabata, a Year 12 student from Japan who has been at Kristin since the beginning of the term. He spent Camp Week at Turangi’s Outdoor Pursuit Centre. Yoshi was nervous heading in to the experience and unsure of what to expect, but came back with new friends and unforgettable memories.
“I hadn’t been on a week-long camp like this before so I was excited but worried too…I couldn’t believe the things we did. I don’t like heights and when we did the high ropes course I thought it was the sort of thing you should do for punishment – not for fun! Everyone in my group was really encouraging and when I got to the top and it came to jumping off, I did it! I was so proud of myself and thankful to my group for their support too.”
There is a collective benefit for everyone at Camp Week. Teamwork requires empathy and understanding and for international students the barriers of language and isolation are broken down while friendships and support networks are formed. By the time everyone returns to school, Kristin has become a more accessible and shared environment for the international students.
Lotti Wang, a Year 11 student from China reflects on her experience, “When I returned home I was like, ‘wow – no more wet clothes!’ Life is so good with a warm shower and soft bed. This camp made me appreciate my life more. I did things I had never done before like perform in a skit on the last night of camp. Now more people recognise me and I’m feeling happy at school.”
for Kristin Students
In this age of social networking, relationships are becoming increasingly important. The old saying, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ is evident on a daily basis. More than just contacts and opportunities, networks are becoming more about collaboration and the sharing of ideas. Two groups of Kristin students – K-Force Robotics and Forensics@Kristin - have recently experienced the power of creative networks when they were invited to participate in the recent IncrediblEdge summit in Auckland.
A celebration of creativity and innovation, IncrediblEdge brought together 150 individuals from 23 countries. The philosophy of the event is based on the observation that the most creative breakthroughs have been the product of a social environment in which thinkers, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists have stimulated and supported one another to reach new heights. IncrediblEdge was established to bring a brilliant and diverse group of people together from across the globe to encourage collaboration, innovation, bravery and development.
The only student representatives at the event, these two groups of Kristin students had the unique opportunity to demonstrate their work between sessions on the first day of the inaugural summit. It was a hands-on experience for the delegates as they took over the controls of the K-Force robots, built from scratch for the VEX Robotics World Champion tournament.
The scale of the event allowed the students to approach speakers between presentations, and come lunchtime the Kristin representatives were engaged in conversations with Can Yuksel, Lead Effects Artist for DreamWorks Animation, industrial design icon and futurist Ross Stevens, and international artist and film maker Nick Egan.
As well as being a headline speaker at the event, Nick Egan is also filming a documentary which follows and investigates the theories of Sir Ken Robinson, the internationally acclaimed creativity expert whose ideas have spurred a revolution in education and a radical re-examination of the entire education process.
After speaking with the Forensics and K-Force Robotics students at IncrediblEdge, Nick made adjustments to his schedule to visit the school a few days later. He wanted to understand more about the type of school environment which supports programmes such as these, and to speak further with the students involved to understand how the environment here at Kristin impacts on their attitudes and development.
During his tour of the school, Nick visited several classes, participated in class discussions and asked students about their work. An energetic and entertaining personality with a wealth of anecdotes and interesting ideas, Nick engaged with everyone from senior musicians to a class of Year 1 students. He met up with the students from IncrediblEdge in an interview over lunchtime and spoke with them about how they felt about school, their happiness and engagement with their learning, their hopes, dreams and ambitions. He took the time to speak with everyone, making sure that if students had to get to class, he met up with them afterwards to continue the conversation.
It was an honour for the school to host an artist of such calibre, and an opportunity enjoyed by the many students who engaged with Nick in their classrooms, interviews or simply in passing. Following his visit, Nick wrote on the Kristin School Facebook page, “Thanks to a wonderful School [and] brilliant students… I left there a better person!”
For the 16 students who attended IncrediblEdge, the opportunity has already brought inspiration and motivation to their group. Their classmates have had the chance to engage with an international creative icon and the IncrediblEdge delegates have been inspired and entertained by the work of these Kristin students. Events such as this demonstrate the power of collaboration which will play a significant role in the future for these Kristin students as they continue to build their networks.
NZ Breakers v
Kristin Junior Basketball
Kristin’s top Year 4, 5 and 6 Basketball teams had the time of their lives when they went up against the NZ Breakers recently. The Roy Munn Gym was packed with Junior School students as the Kristin teams tagged in and out in a fun match that saw impressive goals coming from both ends of the court.