The Old Diocesan Issue5 Mar2020 - Page 56

For many ODs of old, the Adventure Course was a memorable school event.
Today it is the Bishops Epic. Graham Robertson, its recent director, reflects on its history
s many ODs know,
our link to the Cederberg
goes back more than
50 years, to when the brilliant
physics teacher Charles Currey
started to take Grade 10 (Standard
8) boys there to participate in what
became known as the Adventure
Course. The Bishops Epic in its
current format started in 2007.
A lovely touch to the 2019 edition
was that Aidan Currey, grandson
to Charles and son of Peter Currey
(1978S), participated in the Epic.
The Adventure Course was
designed for students to walk
the Cederberg. But we noticed by
the turn of this century that fewer
boys were volunteering to do the
walk, with many opting for other
choices. Research also showed
an increasing number of schools,
nationally and internationally,
Above: Donated by the Pre-Prep,
this jungle gym was erected during
Epic 2016. Right: The man behind
the Epic, the late Mark Hanley, with
boys on top of Sandfontein, 2005.
doing “coming of age” experiences
for students. If our link to the
Cederberg was to continue, we
had to design a programme that
incorporated walking and much
more. Most importantly, it would
have to be for the entire grade.
The late Mark Hanley (1973G)
was the brains behind what is now
known as the Bishops Epic. After
lengthy planning and negotiation
with parents, the school executive
and staff, the only major changes
to Mark’s programme have been
the introduction of a prep week
and the addition of new activities.
The Bishops Epic is now a 16-day
experience in the Cederberg, with
five larger groups of boys doing
five rotations each. All do two
hikes – one with a member of
staff, one without – and all go
to the Waterbase to take part in
skiing, sailing, kayaking and teambuilding exercises. The remaining
two rotations are at two of our
community bases, each linked
to a local “farm” school. Apart
from working at the schools, boys
are involved in activities such as
mountain biking, abseiling, rock
climbing, shooting and alienvegetation clearance. Each boy
also completes a 24-hour solo – a
day and night in the bush, alone.
The two farm schools are very
different. Grootkloof Primary at
Jamaka is a small boarding school
with about 30 students and two
teachers who manage classes
consisting of a mix of grades.
Elizabethfontein Primary has
close to 300 students, many
of whom are weekly boarders.
One of the outreach initiatives
is a weekend leadership camp run

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