What has been the most nerve-wracking, yet exciting day of your life? For me, it was the first day of army cadet camp. “What’s so scary about that?” Well, not only was I doing this after moving to a new school, but I was also the only girl in camp.

On the day of arrival, I felt overwhelmed, as it finally sunk in that I was staying in this weird environment for a week. However, on arrival I realised that the camp where we were staying was outstanding and beautiful. I also came to realise that the view at night was amazing and I had a clear view of the beautiful stars.

As the first day drew to a close, new friends had been made and that overwhelming feeling became a sense of empowerment as I realised the challenges ahead, and the fact that I was the only girl was not going to limit me.

As the week went on it was clear to me that the sergeants did not see the fact that I was a girl as a limitation either, and pushed me to do the same – if not better than the boys. Being the only girl meant having a massive room to myself. Although I was all by myself at night, the boys involved me a lot and in the evening I would go up to the boys camp area and join them playing rugby. They also taught me skills I did not know like how to polish my boots. Although this was my first time away from home, I had a great time and I would definitely do it again.

The challenges were vast. I had to do a 4k walk, with a storm approaching. On the walk, I was met with other problems, such as a team member and a school friend injured his ankle. In this moment, I decided to step up and use previously learnt first aid skills to treat my friend. This showed that I was beginning to gain confidence in myself.

To add to my growing sense of achievements, I received a certificate for successfully completing multiple units of survival wisdom! In addition, I was the first girl to pass this award.

Other memorable moments of my time at the camp included having to skin a rabbit and then eat it for dinner. I also had to set up my own camp with limited equipment.

To conclude, I learnt so much whilst on this camp. I learnt basic survival skills, self-discipline and how to be resilient. One of the biggest things I gained whilst on camp was independence. I have never been by myself away from my family for so long. I have learnt what I am truly capable of and I strongly encourage other people, especially young girls, to take up the same challenge as I have.

Olivia Rose Bull, Year 10