We are human, so we belong...
The Year 9 Ubuntu program is unique to Prince of Peace and provides an opportunity for students to know, understand and value themselves and their peers.
The program combines Heath and Physical Education and Christian Studies subjects and guides Year 9 students though a yearlong journey of social, emotional and spiritual growth.
The year commences with a Calling Ceremony, where students, supported by their families, are called to join the program. Each student places a small stick into a bundle with that of others in their class, symbolising their commitment to one another and their strength in unity.
Drumbeat is a popular program within the Ubuntu year. Under the guidance of their teacher, class groups learn through listening and cooperation, that music can be made. United by a common beat, they gain understanding that different rhythms can be played harmoniously – if they listen, work together and persevere.
The Rock and Water program is run separately for boys and girls. Through a range of physical activities students learn mastery over physical strength and develop self awareness, intuition, self confidence, self respect and an awareness of others’ boundaries.
The three-week Mt Binga experience is, for many, the highlight of Year 9, and is designed to enable personal and spiritual growth. By experiencing a lifestyle reliant on community effort, individual strengths and gifts are brought to the fore, allowing each person to build confidence and self esteem. Such an opportunity also develops new life skills and firm friendships.
Mt Binga provides an opportunity for students to experience spiritual growth and expression. Learning and living together in ‘God’s great outdoors’ enables prayer and worship to take place in unique places, a reminder that God walks alongside us at all times.
Based near Blackbutt, the centre is run by Immanuel Lutheran College. Students spend three weeks living in their class group as a community. The simple tasks of everyday living, such as cooking, cleaning, washing and tending the animals provide challenges and learning lessons of their own. Phones and other technology are left at home and students create their own entertainment. The evening fire, essential for the warming of water for an evening shower, also provides a central point around which students gather to chat, play music and just enjoy each others’ company.
Journaling is a daily activity during the camp, providing time for quiet reflection. Parents and students are encouraged to write letters to one another and these, in our world of instant but ephemeral communication, are treasured by both.
Parents and siblings join the students for the last day of their time at Mt Binga and students are then able to give their families an insight into their experience and enjoy a meal together prior to going home.
The yearlong Ubuntu program concludes during the last week of Term 4 with a physically challenging bush walk. Later that day, students, supported by their families, take part in the Return Ceremony. During this ceremony, students present their parents with a letter acknowledging how far they have come and thanking those who have supported them though their lives.
It has been great to live with all these people and to create bond with them in ways I could never have imagined. It has given me a boost in confidence and independence along with helping me to come to terms with myself – who I am and what I want to be.
Year 9 student
My advice to everyone is to give Mt Binga all that you have and be positive because it is a great experience. The more you put in the more you will get out. I loved it and would happily go back again.
Year 9 student