St Mary's offers an excellent outdoor education programme for its students. The programme is centred on camps for Years 7, 8, 9 and 11. The camps are designed as a component of the school curriculum, aimed at delivering the best possible education for girls. In addition, the Duke of Edinburgh Award involves camps for girls who choose to be part of the scheme. Scuba diving and surfing are also on offer.
The camp experience is designed to encourage and develop initiative and independence, communication, co-operation and teamwork within a group, awareness of the environment, bushcraft and safety skills. Relationships between students, and between staff and students, are enhanced as are individuals' self-esteem and confidence. As important as all of these is the fact that the girls have fun.
The Year 7 camp, held in Term 1 is a group focused camp, designed to welcome the new girls to the shool, develop new friendships and breakdown barriers. The main focus of the camp is developing team work through a range of challenges and fun initiatives. The activities they are involved in includes snorkelling, team challenges, theatre sports, camping out and visiting some of the local tourist attractions.
The Year 8 Camp, held in Term 2, at St Mary's at Metricup, provides the ideal location for a variety of activities, including bushwalking, campouts, snorkelling, canoeing, fishing, surfing, caving, art activities and games.
In Term 1 the Year 9s, in two separate groups, camp out for six days at Metricup and in the Margaret River region. In smaller groups, the girls participate in a range of challenging activities such as abseiling, rock climbing, canoeing, hiking, mountain bike riding and caving. For most of the girls the challenges of this camp are very different from other experiences, and all learn a great deal about themselves, their capabilities, relationships and working with others.
Year 11 Camp is held in Term 3. It is a corporate-style programme where students develop skills in problem solving, group awareness, leadership and communication. Activities including abseiling, problem solving games, snorkelling, media production activities, bush tucker, cycling, adventure games and hikes are used to challenge them, highlighting their resistance and positive attributes. The activities change each year but all serve as preparation for the roles the students will take on in Year 12.
Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme
In Year 10 students are able to work towards their bronze medal in this scheme as part of the Outdoor Education option. The activities take place outside normal class time. This programme assists these girls in further developng their leadership skills, as they assist in planning and organising their own camps throughout the year. A number of girls continue on, to work towards their silver medal in Year 11.
The scuba diving programme includes basic and advanced open water courses, photography, snorkelling, fishing and diver life-saving. In the Term I holidays, an expedition to Exmouth to view the whale sharks is often conducted.
There are other opportunities to be part of tours to Exmouth, the Abrolhos Islands, the Rowley Shoals and overseas.
The surfing programme at St Mary's includes before-school surfing lessons, a school surfing team and camps conducted at Metricup during the year. The school has its own surf club and members are selected to represent the school in various surfing competitions including state and regional competitions. Students have also represented the school in national competitions.