School camp takes students from bush to beach

​From the bush to the beach, a group of St Joseph's Primary School students have had a school camp experience like never before.

The Year 4 students from St Joseph's in Murgon, approximately 150km west of Sunshine Coast, returned today (30 November) from their first school camp, having participated in lifesaving skills, tennis, gymnastics and bush walking.

The trip was made possible through the relationship between St Joseph's and Physical Education teacher Michael Winmill of St Thomas More Primary School, Sunshine Beach, who organised the camp. Both schools are closely connected through their shared Marist story and as members of Brisbane Catholic Education Cluster 1 schools' network.

St Joseph's Primary School Principal Tracey Gerrard said the camp, which had never been done before, was a wonderful experience for her students who often don't get exposed to the beach or certain sports due to the school not having a Physical Education teacher of its own.

“It's been incredible for our students," Ms Gerrard said.

“Because we don't have a PE teacher, Mr Winmill started coming out to our school once a term to offer specialised sport classes.

“Our kids loved it so much that we have made it a regular visit. It also allows our teachers to learn and expand their skillset in this area.

“We couldn't do it without the support of St Thomas More Primary School Principal Carmel Schaumburg. Mr Winmill never asks for anything in return despite fuel and accommodation costs. He does it as a Christian service for us."

Mr Winmill said the smile on the students' faces was all the thanks he needed.

“I visit the school and I can see that I can make an instant difference - it's not very often you get to experience that feeling," he said.

“All it takes is a little enthusiasm and you can change a student's life."

Mr Winmill said the 21 students who experienced the camp, finished the trip with surf education donated by Noosa Surf Club.

“We also organised a game of cricket with the students from our school as well and when I asked them what their favourite part of the trip was, they all said it was playing with their new friends," he said.

“It just reinforces that people really do matter. This was a giving experience from our community, and we got back so much."​

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