For many TAS students, Bush Skills is where adventure begins. The introductory outdoor education program for students in Year 6, Bush Skills is focused on building confidence, resilience and independence, with the goal of the program to provide a strong background of basic outdoor skills that boys and girls will further develop when they enter the Ranger program in Year 7 and finally Cadets in Year 8.
Each Activities Day has sequential activities that gradually increase in skill complexity and incorporate camp bushcraft, knots/ropes, bush hygiene, radio communication, team-building, bush cooking, First Aid, hiking, navigation, safe fire-lighting and building shelters & snares. Year 6 enjoy their first Activities Day on campus, participating in a number of challenging activities. These include:harnessing up and attempting the Climbing Wall in the TAS Gymnasium, as well as learning, remembering and using the correct calls for each phase of the climb;learning how to make a stretcher out of common cadet-issued items and sticks from the bush;learning and practising how to tie a variety of knots using rope and an introduction to basic First Aid; and completing a physically demanding obstacle course.
On Activities Day 2, they head off campus to a local property where they rotate through six training stations:Fire-lighting – learning how to collect materials for, and build a small fire; Bush Cooking – learning how to, and cooking damper over hot coals; High Ropes – climbing a suspended ladder and a tower of crates while harnessed, using the correct calls; Navigation – learning about bearings and using a compass; Shelters – how to put up a shelter in which to sleep, using the knots taught on Activities Day 1; Radio – learning the phonetic alphabet and using basic call signs to send messages.
For their third Activities Day, students then camp out on overnight bivouac, sleeping in shelters they erect themselves and cooking their own meals! It’s all about fun that sets the foundation of character development.