Grade 5 outbound at the Backyard in Ratchaburi

Grade 5 arrived at school just as the Sun was coming up and we stood in the cold morning air waiting for the others to arrive. After our first briefing and a reflection on now being explorers, we set off on our adventure. The bus ride lasted 3 and a half hours and the excitement was building the entire way. We arrived at The Backyard in Ratchaburi in the late morning and our first challenge was to unpack the bus.

We did this as a team and it started off the Outbound on the right foot. We then explored the limits of the area that we were going to stay. After this, it was time to build our shelters. We were given tents and a challenge to set them up with no adult help. This took a long time but eventually, with a little help from our teachers, we had where we were going to sleep that night.

We then participated in team-building games and a rope walk through the treetops. This was the first big step out of our comfort zones.

Finally, we unpacked into our tents and then cooked our own dinner.

We thought we were finished for the day but then it was announced that we would be setting off on a Night Walk. We were sleepy but suddenly excited and scared. We walked into the jungle as a group and then we turned off our flashlights. One by one we walked through the jungle alone. We focused on calming our amygdala and overcoming our fears. After this huge challenge, we returned together to our campsite and went to sleep in our tents. The main learning target for today was: We can step out of our comfort zones.

Day 2

We woke early on the second day and had breakfast together. As we finished, we updated our explorer journals and then participated in a morning meditation. 

Then we set off on our rock climbing and abseiling activity. It was another chance to face our fears.

After this, we learned how to zip line and went whooshing through the jungle treetops.

Then it was time for lunch and to continue our reflection.

After we had eaten, we set off on consolidating our learning. We interviewed a local expert on exploration and why people have a drive to explore. We wrote reflections on the challenges we had overcome and how the Outbound added to our understanding of the famous explorers we had been researching. 

After all this hard work, it was time to cool off. We changed into our swimming clothes and headed for the river. We swam and balanced on the paddle boards while examining the river and bank for plants and animals. 

We finished the day by being challenged to cook with minimal guidance from our teachers and then having a campfire. It was during this campfire that the teachers shared that if we could convince the school, we might be able to move into the more luxurious glamping tents. We created a song and dance that had reasons for this argument.

We also roasted marshmallows and watched an incredible firestick show performed by the owner of The Backyard. We then received the great news that our performances had worked and we moved into the fanicer tents for a night of comfort. The main learning target for today was: We can be resilient in the face of new challenges.

Day 3

After a well-rested night, we began to think about the trip home. After breakfast, we took down our tents. Our teacher told us it was the fastest he had seen on any of these trips. Then we packed up our belongings and took them back to the bus. 

It was then time for the most important part of the Outbound. It was our final independent reflection. We took our explorer journals and poured into them all of our thoughts, questions, discoveries, and reflections from the three days.

It was finally time to leave. We thanked the incredible staff at The Backyard, got into the bus and were on our way back home. The anticipation built as we neared the school and everyone was overly excited to see their families again. The main learning target for today was: We understand that with great power, comes great responsibility.

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