Developing and publishing an educational rationale is important. It is not enough that students enjoy themselves, or that it is good to experience the great outdoors. As with educational pursuits, rationale, objectives and methods need to be carefully planned, and made clear to all involved. These activities certainly enhance student’s personal, social and academic development, and may also be a part of internal or external award systems (e.g. Duke of Edinburgh’s Award).
In any school, a range of activities is possible. Primary children might start with half-day walks in local areas and build up to bush base-camp activities, while senior students will range from short day walks or ski trips to the kind of extended trips run by several schools, often in conjunction with outside expert consultants. Careful thought needs to be given to enthusing students, equipping them with skills and gear to make the experience worthwhile, and pre-trip planning based on the participants’ skill levels. Extraordinary things can be achieved with school students—but not all will want to try a 40 km bushbash as a first experience.