Monday, December 15, 2008

Cool School Race Camp Winners 2008

The boys team from Mandurah Catholic College who were the winners of the 2008 Cool School Race Camp, a pretty good effort at their first attempt. Interestingly no school has one it twice since it became a multi school competition, previous winners being Carine, Duncraig, Busselton and Newton Moore. There were 8 schools in it this year, 23 teams, 182 students and 28 staff.

I have a hunch there'll be even more interest in it next year as word spreads.
This year's camp was probably the most successful and smoothest running camp we've had, with the last day in particular a stand out. In previous years I have been guilty of making the race on day three too hard and too long but this year 19 of the 23 teams completed the race before the deadline and a further two finished shortly after.
Similarly the process of working out where camp site two is has been too difficult for many campers in the past, causing them frustration and me disappointment as check points and detours were not getting used and the preparation time before camp was going to waste. This year I dialed down the degree of difficulty in order to make it run more efficiently and this helped although it's fair to say that many groups still struggled with the internet quiz. Now that search engines like google are so powerful I've had to write questions that require more than one bit of information in order to find the answer, or require teams to search images on google earth and recognise specific objects. If you're not sure what I mean, click on the link for the quiz in my previous post and have a go. All of the answers can be found by using google and a bit of deductive reasoning.
More groups also decided to sacrifice some of their funds to buy the answer to camp site two rather than lose a lot of valuable time looking for it when they really needed to be scoring points taking photos, especially the four mandatory pictures. The going rate for the answer to camp site two was $100, a significant amount considering a group's total funds for the camp were $280. Helpful hints to the quiz questions cost $5 while an answer sold for $10, a choice several groups made when they were stuck.
I was especially pleased when a couple of groups rang the helpline listed on the back of their ID cards, and even more impressed at the calibre of their questions. They were only allowed three so they couldn't waste them. One group rang to ask the sloution to the traffic jam puzzle which they had to solve while on the train to the next checkpoint. Another team asked the location of the most valuable photo, a picture of a rock carving worth 50,000 points that was extremely difficult to find.
Lots of other things worked out really well, the staff did a great job and were very positive about the camp, the 110 pizzas I ordered for dinner on the second night kept everyone fed, and the gourmet pizzas I got for the staff were great. The camp site were both terrific, the support and encouragement from the manager at CS1 in particular was outstanding. CS2 was pretty cozy with 200+ people all sleeping in the one hall but they settled down well when we put the lights out. Our daring raid to secure extra gym mats for people to sleep on worked perfectly despite the Heir's doubts. I'd like to go into more detail on that one but I can't!
Talking of the Heir, he did a brilliant job as my right hand man on the camp. He drove the big hire van and did all sorts of transport and resourcing jobs over the three days, all with a minimum of fuss and often under pressure of time or as a result of a sudden idea or inspiration. He was truly invaluable and it was great work with him and have some extra time together in the process.
All the editing of the task/hand/photo/score books before camp was worth it as there was a minimum of mistakes or omissions.
The success of day three really convinced me of the overall success of the camp. There were a lot of logistical tasks to complete before the race began, packing and transporting all the gear to 6 different destinations. Having a couple of spare staff from Mandurah and a couple of extra cars to move things made the whole thing work out. In terms of the race itself I felt like we really got it right, achieving the right mix of challenge, competition, fun and timing to enable a high percentage of teams to complete the whole thing and still have time left at the end to do the scores and wrap it all up. We even got away 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
One of the Busselton teams won the race in a very tight contest with the lead changing more than once over the last couple of legs.
The kids from Mandurah were very happy and excited about their overall triumph to win the Cool School Race Camp trophy.
After all the hard work I'm looking forward to a bit of a rest, but I'm also looking forward to planning next year's camp and making it even better.

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Jacqui said...

Congratulations, it must have been very satisfying for things to have run so smoothly, especially with that many people involved.
I guess Zac's experience overseas made him such an able helper.

Birchy said...

How come you failed to mention Balcatta SHS in your list of previous winners?
Not happy Jan!