We said farewell to our first group attending their Wandering Spirit retreat at Yeagarup for 2023. Their excitement, mixed with nerves, was palpable as they headed into the unknown for nine days. Mrs Johnston also travelled down during the week to share time with the girls and learn more about their journey.
Wandering Spirit is a year-long Year 9 wellbeing program specifically designed to develop self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a mental health toolbox, supporting students through their transition to adulthood. It provides opportunities to connect with the people and natural world around them, helping to determine who they would like to be as young adults.
The program is woven into:
- Aspects of curriculum, Year time and our specifically designed wellbeing subject, ‘Belonging’.
- Combined sessions with our brother school Christ Church Grammar School, where students practice newly developed skills and discuss respectful relationships.
- A nine-day retreat at our regional Yeagarup campus delivered by Saacha and Dan with a team of wonderful leaders. Here, students are away from home and technology, immersed in nature, exploring themes around self-care, identity, personal strengths, relationships, and vision.
- A celebration of their relationships, particularly the mother/daughter and father/daughter units as well as their elders. In this aspect of the program, we acknowledge strengths, and appreciation for one another and discuss how they would like their relationship to be, moving forward.
The program was developed by a committee of passionate educators and international experts. Over time, it has evolved and grown as we adjust to our environment at Yeagarup and the needs of our Year 9 students. Feedback from students, parents and staff are used to continually review and adapt the program to meet the requirements of each unique student group. We write, create and cultivate a plethora of activities and workshops that are handpicked to produce the best outcomes for a specific group or individual.
Now in our third year, we have observed significant improvements in personal pursuit, emotional literacy, self-awareness, student wellbeing, independence, and comfort in being authentically themselves. Wandering Spirit also provides opportunities for students to develop deeper and stronger connections with their peers and significant adults, which sets them up to have a supportive and caring environment as they venture into their senior years of school and beyond St Hilda’s.
If our students are happy, have a toolbox to support their mental health and are part of a strong and connected community where they feel they belong, they will thrive. It is our job as parents and educators to not prepare the road for our young people but to prepare our young people for the road. Wandering Spirit is an impacting and unique program that supports this journey.