Winter Program Overview
Like the signature bonfires which characterised it, the Winter Program was a roaring success! For three days in July, Campion hosted 21 Year 11 and 12 students from NSW and Victoria to get a taste of the Liberal Arts and life at the college.
Each day, the students were treated to a lecture or a discussion in one of the core subjects: literature, theology, philosophy and history. One of the most popular events was a movie night, in which students watched The Truman Show before delving into the philosophical underpinnings and insights in a discussion led by philosophy lecturer Dr Amitavo Islam. The camp was also packed with activities, sports, games and, of course, bonfires.
Students began arriving at Campion the night before the first official day of the program, with each person assigned a room in the campus dormitories. To break the ice, staff led some games to get everybody acquainted, share stories and interesting facts about themselves and work together in teams. A casual pizza party followed before everyone headed over to the bonfire to roast marshmallows and chat.
The first day began with Mass, followed by breakfast and a literature lecture by Dr Bell on the poetry of William Blake. Students then had to solve problems and riddles in the fast-paced game Molecule, before the group split into two to play a few rounds of soccer and volleyball. After dinner, tables and chairs were cleared away to make room for swing dancing. The evening began with a couple of bush dances, followed by a short swing dancing lesson before the night took off. Previously shy young men strode forward to ask a partner to dance and, after an hour or so, it was with some difficulty that everyone was persuaded to leave the dance floor to join the bonfire.
Around the flames, everybody was encouraged to share true stories of unbelievable or funny events that had happened to them or someone they knew – with hilarious results. Eventually it was time for bed to prepare for…
Campion president Dr Paul Morrissey began the second day with a lecture on theology and philosophy in movies, drawing particularly on the Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino. Students and staff then took a bus to the city. After an al fresco lunch in the Domain, a tour began in the NSW Art Gallery, around St Marys Cathedral, through the Botanical Gardens and down to the harbour. Sydney showed off with an unseasonably warm day, which added to the beauty of the sights.
There was some free time upon returning to campus before the evening’s events. Wits were tested in a four-round game of trivia, followed by the movie and discussion in the PDS lecture theatre.
After two such action-packed days, the last day of the program was low-key.
Beginning with an ancient history lecture by Dr Bell, Day Three then saw marketing coordinator Chris Cox give a presentation on Campion College, while alumni and current Campion students gave their testimonies. Many of the school students decided to have academic interviews after the presentation. Finally, the rooms were stripped, bags were packed and parents arrived to pick up their children.
It was a busy three days but the feedback from the camp was overwhelmingly positive, with many students indicating they enjoyed the experience so much they’re keen to return in January for the Summer Program.