Going Bush With Rotary

The Rotary Club of Murray Bridge conducts a programme in which it invites children to join it on a camping holiday in South Australia’s outback. We go to a situation which has few modern facilities and no “switch on” entertainment such as TV, computer games or video games. We go to a pristine environment and to a large extent the children are encouraged to exercise their imaginations. They are encouraged to communicate with each other, and with adults, in a casual relaxed atmosphere. The aims of the exercise are:

  • To provide those children who are not otherwise able to have a bush holiday to do so
  • To reinforce basic social values to help children generally including those who may be or may become “at risk”
  • To encourage communication and trust
  • To provide positive role models and mentors
  • To provide situations where interpersonal and social skills can be developed
  • To enable the carers of the children to have a break and to support them in their upbringing of the children

“Going Bush with Rotary” is a project which the Club is organising as part of its service to youth activities – Rotary Assisting Local Youth (RALY). It is designed for people aged about 11 years.

The trip takes place over 7 days during the October school holidays and involves a combination of bush camping and shearers quarters accommodation in the Flinders Ranges. The itinerary includes some four wheel drive sightseeing, bushwalking and nature observation, sheep station activities, a mine tour and some contact with aboriginal culture, and of course camping in the bush with many camp-style activities. The children are provided with a trip diary to keep a record and mementos of their trip.

The Rotary Club of Murray Bridge organises, manages and operates the trip in partnership with a local primary school which arranges the selection of candidates. There are usually several vehicles and about 10 children provided for. The adults comprise a mixture of Rotarians experienced in outback travel and camping, other persons with specialist skills, and young people such as the current exchange student and past attendees.

Each child has a home vehicle, and the members of that vehicle, (eg “The Drovers”) form a team for various activities and duties, such as meal preparation and cleaning up. The adults for that vehicle are the mentors for that team. However when travelling the children may be “mixed and matched” in other vehicles on some occasions.

Rotary provides most of the essentials for the trip. The participants need to bring a few personal items. There is no cost to the parents/carers except for some pocket money for the children (max $20.00) and a $10 Application Fee.

The project won the award for the best new youth project at the District 9520 Conference in 2002.

Trip founders Jim & Vicki Mason often go on outback trips and any Rotarian visiting the district who may be interested in joining them are invited to contact them (see below)

PO Box 515
Murray Bridge SA 5253
Contact: Jim Mason
08 8532 3288(w)
email: jmason@tgb.com.au