Tips to make Binga the best

A reflection from one of our students from 2016 on what helped her make the most of her Mt Binga experience.

I was extremely nervous and apprehensive about embarking on a one-month journey to Mt Binga. The fact that I would be away from my home, my family and everything that felt comfortable, scared me so much so that I was willing to move schools as soon as I hit Year 7. I’m not going to lie, the bus trip up to Binga was one filled with many tears, to say the least, and to be greeted by the rusty basketball hoop and realising that we had just arrived in the middle of nowhere didn't help much, but (and there’s always a but so don't get too worried) once the first two days had passed, and I had finally settled in, I could tell that the place that once looked really strange was starting to feel like home, and both my fellow campers, and the supportive Binga staff were soon becoming like my new family.

 Tips and advice;

 Make sure you pack baby wipes because this is the only way that you’ll stay clean and get to have a ‘shower’ on hike, survival or solo.

  • Parents and students I encourage you to make the most of writing letters. I know it seems really old-fashioned, and writing is probably the last thing you will want to do, because there is always so much fun to be had and so much to do, but I can assure you that letters (whether they are big or small) mean the absolute world.  Mail time is not an activity that you will want to miss, trust me! I don't think I have ever looked forward to Mondays, as much as I did at Binga.
  • Always get involved, whether that be in activities, jobs or the 8 Binga values, that I’m sure you have all heard so much about! I have or should I say had the biggest fear of heights before leaving for Binga, and three-day hike was the last thing I wanted to do, but these experiences, even though they were tough, ended up being highlights of my time at Binga, and it was at times like these that I made the best friendships and memories. Remember this; you only have one Binga experience, so make the most of it!
  • Try and make friendships with people you don't know, or at least try and get to know them a little better, as this is one of the best environments you will ever find to achieve this goal. Making and building connections with others and the leaders was a massive positive for me.  
  • Make the most of solo, because it is a really great opportunity to reflect, and just be by yourself. You will need the break by this time of the month.
  • This one is more for the parents. I know that having your child go away for a month may seem upsetting for some of you, because it certainly was for my parents, but I can truly assure you that your kids will be more than well taken care of, and although they will miss you, they will be having lots of fun as well. The month will be over in the blink of an eye.
  • Homesickness could be an experience for some of you, I know it was for me, but if you keep what you are doing at the forefront of your mind, and get involved in the idea of community, this feeling dissipates a lot faster. Instead of sitting in your room by yourself, go join your friends around the fire or even just find a leader that you can talk to. 
  • Last but not least, make sure you bring a really good torch, comfortable walking shoes (and if these are hiking boots, also ensure that they are worn in or else you will get massive blisters), make sure you know how to dig a good hole, and if there’s one thing you remember, it has to be this; ensure that you get the recipe for Margaret’s crumbed chicken.

It’s no surprise that after living with 11 other girls for a month, my interactions with others have been a lot stronger since Binga and I now see everyone in my year level as friends. This would not have been made possible without the wonderful work of our college counselor in our Binga prep sessions, and of course the camp leaders themselves. I mentioned earlier that the bus trip up to Binga was quite an emotional one, well the trip back from Binga was even more sad. It may seem a little scary now, but honestly, Binga was one of the best times of my life, even though it had its ups and downs, and if I could I would go back in an absolute heartbeat, no questions asked.