Monday 08 May 2023

Assistant Principal (Students and Engagement)

  • Adolescents health and wellbeing
  • Connection at Year 7 Camp
  • Adolescents health and wellbeing
  • Connection at Year 7 Camp

Adolescents need connection for their health and wellbeing

In an article by Professor Robert Blum and colleagues in a United Nations publication, they wrote about adolescents needing connectedness as a crucial aspect for their health and wellbeing.

The article stated: “connections are cornerstones of health and wellbeing, and for adolescents the connections with family, peers, and community have a critical effect on development. Youth development programmes that treat adolescents as problems to be solved don’t tend to work. Instead, programmes should be focusing on maximising human connectedness, which evidence shows is a critical element of effective youth programmes.”

By connectedness we mean a sense of being cared for, supported, belonging, and closeness with others that comes from protective and sustained relationships within families, schools, and communities. A supportive social network of parents, peers, and teachers has been shown to improve adolescent mental and behavioural health and have lifelong benefits. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the United States, for example, found that adolescents who reported feeling connected to home or school at ages 12-17 years were as much as 66% less likely to experience high risk behaviours and reported better mental health in adulthood than less connected peers.

Connection at Year 7 Camp

Ave Maria College continues to offer many opportunities to connect. The Year 7 Camp is a wonderful example of students new to our community growing their connection to each other, to their Peer Support Leaders (Year 11) and to their teachers. Through challenging and engaging activities at Camp Alexandria, students formed bonds that will be called upon to help them navigate being a teenager.

Sienna Ciavarella and Jessica McKie in Year 7 report on the camp below. Their report shows a very strong sense of communication, collaboration and most importantly, connection.

“Year 7 camp was an amazing fun experience. The activities were so much fun. The flying fox was my favourite. We could see the canoes and the raft builders as we flew across the lake. Everyone loved the giant swing, and we all got our teachers and Peer Support Leaders to give it a go. Swimming was so much fun.

The Wildlife Show was incredible. We were given the opportunity to feel the scales of the snakes and some of the reptiles. Everyone saw an adorable owl. There was also a fluffy possum, it was so cute.

I loved the campfire because we roasted marshmallows which tasted delicious. The Peer Support Leaders told scary stories and were singing songs. We also got to spend lots of time with our friends while roasting marshmallows.

The Variety Show was epic. All the Peer Support Groups put on the best show ever. Peer Support groups 5 and 6 won with a total score of 30/30 (top score) The teacher performance was so funny, especially because they borrowed student costumes.

The Peer Support Leaders received their badges. We all thanked our Peer Support leaders for their kindness and support. All of us Year 7’s love our peer support leaders and thank them for all they have done for us.

The food was delicious, we especially love the pancakes for breakfast, the wraps for lunch and the chicken schnitzel for dinner. We loved the delicious cake and brownies for morning and afternoon tea as well as the garlic bread and the pasta baked.”

Ms Leonie Rushbrook
Assistant Principal (Students and Engagement)