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Issues from 1998
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Year 9 retreats – celebrating a new stage of development

The Year 9 Retreat Programme weaves yet another thread into the Scotch tartan.

How does one mark a new stage in a boy’s development? How can we tell that we have crossed a threshold of life’s journey? In modern Western society we often need to invent ways, since the milestones of our lives are perhaps less clearly delineated than in the past, or in comparison with many ‘less developed’ societies.

At Scotch, we have identified a time that needs to be recognised, celebrated and set aside as being special. We do this by a time of retreat, where the boys step aside, for a brief time, from their everyday busy existence and have some time to reflect on where they are and the changes that are taking place in their lives.

The focus is four-fold:

  • Contemplation of their stage of development, what they are confronting in the future, and the people and structures which are there to support and mentor them through life’s challenges. The boys are led towards becoming more aware of their spiritual selves at this critical time.
  • Learning cooperation and team-working within the peer group and beyond. This is especially relevant in building a sense of House identity. A primary aim of the retreats is to build those significant relationships, especially with the boys' Heads of House and tutors.
  • Recognising community within the House and year level, in addition to working with the Year 11 assistant leaders, and in the context of the whole school.
  • Finally, commissioning the boys into the Upper School and ushering them towards the realisation of approaching adulthood, with a retreat stamp on their arms applied during a formal mountaintop ceremony. This includes speeches, prayers and handshakes, accompanied by the lilting drone of the bagpipes.

The retreats include a range of cooperative activities, creative shelter building, physical and intellectual games, House getting-to-know-you discussions, nature walks, silent contemplation in a rainforest, and speakers on handling tough times and identifying potential mentors. That is a lot to pack into 33 hours in and around Elliott Lodge near Healesville!

We have reason to believe that the retreat weaves yet another thread into the Scotch College tartan, ensuring a safe and challenging framework for the optimal development of your sons.

BRIAN AHERN – HEAD OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION; TIC, YEAR 9 RETREATS

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Updated: 3 October 2016