On the 11th - 12th and 18th -19th October, Huili School Shanghai hosted its first House Camping Events. First, the Junior High pupils from Li and De house spent the night in school, completing team building activities and bonding as a house. This was then followed by the Hui and Xian Junior High pupils who camped at the school a week later.
The purpose of this event was to further develop the pupils’ sense of house identity, create a positive house spirit and leave them with lifelong memories.
It was the first time that the pupils from Grades 6 and 7 came together as a house. All the teachers and external coaches were highly impressed by the teamwork and general ‘togetherness’ shown by the pupils who, as a result of this experience, created many friendships which they have taken into day-to-day life at Huili.
‘Archery Tag’ (also known as ‘Battle Archery’) was one of the most popular activities that the pupils took part in during the event. Pupils ‘geared-up’ with the bows and soft arrows, worked as a team and had loads of fun while running around the field trying to defeat the opposition.
The evening cinema was a special opportunity for the pupils to share the experience of being in school late at night when the building was quiet and only the crunching of their popcorn could be heard.
Pupils shared that they felt very privileged to have this opportunity to share with their fellow housemates and it was an experience they will always remember.
Pupils are already benefitting from this experience as new friendships have been made and a stronger house identity can already be seen around the school. This was only the first of many more house events that will take place in order to continue to develop the pupils’ sense of belonging, not only in their house but as a Huili School Shanghai pupil.
“This was the first time ever sleeping inside Huili! I will never forget this experience and I cannot wait for the next House Camping event.” – Minnie (Grade 7C) from De House
“This camp was the first time in my life that I used traditional camping tents. It was so fun and interesting. There were lots of great games I enjoyed with my housemates, like archery, catapult building, raft racing and the scavenger hunt. The movie time was also very special. I am looking forward to next year’s camp already.” – Sean (Grade 6B) from Li House
“We had a really nice time and enjoyed the activities. The catapult building needed different people to be organised and work together to be successful. This helped us to build teamwork.” – Yvonne (Grade 6A) from Hui House
"Although it was in school, I thought the trip was fun as not only teachers but also people from outside came to help with the activities. All four activities were a lot of fun. This experience totally changed my opinion of camping at school." – Brian (Grade 7C) from Xian House
Ms Hettie Cui from Hui House
“Any house event is a great opportunity for team building. The pupils did an excellent job of getting involved in activities that they had not tried before, like the raft building and putting up their own tents. They learned so much in a short space of time and I was really proud of their behaviour.
Everyone in Hui House tried their best at everything on offer and they always managed to find a better solution whenever they met with any difficulty. They all showed the HUI WAY – they have great courage and plenty of them show promise in terms of leading and organising team efforts. I definitely think that the house is stronger for it.”
Mr Sam Lloyd from Xian House
“Last year, the Guizhou trip served as an incredible bonding experience for the pupils who went, so I think everyone was keen for us to recreate that kind of cohesive bond but earlier in the school year. House Camping really served as a great chance for the pupils to get to know their fellow housemates much better in a fun, informal and memorable way.
Xian House pupils supported each other incredibly well, even when they were performing activities outside of their comfort zone – they showed nothing but positivity and house camaraderie. There are now plenty of new friendships and old ones have been cemented. The Battle Archery was my personal favourite part, who knew that we had so many deadly archers in our midst?!”
Ms Shirley Yuan from Li House
“This event was great preparation for Grade 6’s week-long trip to Guizhou in May next year (Grade 7’s trip destination is still to be decided). It was also excellent practice for the pupils to see how they can work together in their houses and indeed with the other houses too. They loved the camping part, and the novelty of sleeping in tents inside the school was something I think they will remember for a long time.
I am very proud of Li House, from their willingness to volunteer and get involved, to their sense of initiative and independence – one of our pupils gave a demonstration to some of the other pupils on how to put their tent up. We are a house that embraces everybody, and this event was a great chance for Li House pupils to show that.”
Mr Shane Maher from De House
“There were so many instances of leadership, responsibility, kindness, humility, modesty and integrity shown by our pupils throughout the event, but the standout moment for me was during the movie, Inside Out.
In the film, a childhood memory was about to fade away, to metaphorically ‘die’, to save the overall consciousness of the main character. What struck me most was how the pupils dealt with it. Without exception, there was a moment of almost absolute silence, followed by an audible exhaling of breath. I thought it showed a maturity of emotion, an ability to be touched by poignancy, a collective sense of ‘passing’ and a sense of collectively sharing something both sad and beautiful.
I believe the sense of commonality as well as individuality within the collective House identity was really strengthened by the weekend. This sense of togetherness is key to the ‘House’ model, that we are more than the sum of our parts. De House’s emblem is the eagle and, like the eagle, our pupils soared almost effortlessly.”
Building bonds across houses
We hope that every Huili pupil involved in the House Camping event enjoyed themselves thoroughly, made some new friends and perhaps even discovered some hidden talents along the way!
Look out for future updates on bigger house events at Huil, as well as our summer expeditions for 2020.