The Year 9 Odyssey is a transformative Rite of Passage program for adolescent boys with the objective of teaching life skills, building positive character traits and providing opportunities for boys to practice and develop these in challenging yet safe environments. It is built upon the blueprint of Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” which uses metaphors and symbolism to chart the transformation and psychological growth of people. The Odyssey program is structured so boys undertake their own Hero’s Journey with personalised opportunities to battle inner demons, confront their fears and pass through the tunnel of self-discovery to come out the other side ready to meet their next adventure. At the end of the Odyssey experience boys will be well equipped with the character traits and skills to confront the many transitional experiences they will encounter throughout their life. They will understand to achieve in life, you must have perseverance and resilience, be able to work with others, use initiative to change course when needed and have the ability to problem solve.

What did this year’s group of Year 9 boys say about their Odyssey experience?

I was quite nervous when I found out I was going to be participating in the Odyssey program because I did not know much about it or what it was. After doing it, I realised how fun it was and how it truly challenged me to become a better person. My most memorable part of the Odyssey was climbing up the mast of the Leeuwin because it was great fun, and I really liked the view. A challenge I overcame was also climbing to the top of the mast because I was very nervous, and I was quite scared. My biggest area of growth was becoming more appreciative and grateful for the amazing opportunities that I get at this school.
Samuel Cartwright

When I was notified about the Odyssey Program at the start of the year, I was excited but nervous. It is a big journey in which boys must face their fears whilst also developing important independence skills. Now I have completed the Odyssey, I am satisfied and feel that I now understand both myself and others better. Throughout the Odyssey I learned important social and leadership skills. I now think that I can collaborate better and help others to be their best in all aspects of their life. The caving on the Margaret River Camp is something which is memorable as I was forced to face my fears when manoeuvring through the tight places and I now feel that I could do more in the future. I faced a challenge when setting up my tent, but I eventually set it up and helped others to set theirs up too. In terms of character development, I believe that my leadership and collaboration skills have been my biggest area of growth this year and was helped very much by the Odyssey Program. For Year 8s going into Year 9 in 2023, I suggest that you take up all activities wholeheartedly. Even if you don’t like them, or fear them, or your friends aren’t there, they are all opportunities to learn and have fun.
Dylan Atkins-Walters

Upon hearing of the Odyssey program in Term 1 I was interested in most of the opportunities, although the 23km hike stood out. The Leeuwin sounded like the most interesting as well. After completing the Odyssey Program, the massive hike that I was worried about thinking it was going to be terrible wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be. The Leeuwin, due to the bad weather during my groups voyage, turned out to be the most challenging activity. I found that probably the greatest part of Odyssey was getting to spend time with people I don’t usually spend time with due to the assigned groups, which at first seemed bad, but turned out well as it helped me to get to know more people. I think my social skills have improved a lot over the program, I learnt to talk/socialise with more people. A piece of advice I would give boys starting the program would be to try everything, you’ll never know what it was like if you didn’t do it and, in the future, when you look back on it, you’ll see how good it really was.
Harrison Ganza

At the beginning of the year, I felt excited for the Odyssey Adventure in Term 4. Now having completed it I feel it was very beneficial and fulfilling. One positive that I took away from the experience was the new friends that I made or the people I got to know a lot better. The most memorable experience for me was the camp in Margaret River that my group went on. The Dance night that every Year 9 took part in was a challenge mentally and physically, but it taught us a good lesson about the importance of leaving the man box. My biggest area of growth that occurred from the Odyssey was learning about the man box behaviours and how to stop them, this helped me develop as a person. For future Year 9s I would recommend you give the Odyssey Program your full effort so you can benefit the most from it.
Peter Green

At the start of the year I was quite excited to undertake the Odyssey Program and participate in the Term 4 Odyssey Adventure because I had heard from older boys that it was a great experience. Now I have completed it I feel more confident in doing things and a lot closer to boys that I hadn’t really had much to do with prior to this program. Some of the more memorable experiences from the program would be sailing on the Leeuwin and embarking on the 23 kilometre walk at Bolgart where I felt a lot more at home being on a farm. Regarding growth in my character, I’d say I’ve grown a lot in self-confidence and resilience and believe that I can accomplish more now. Some advice I’d give to boys that are yet to participate in this program would be to not think about how hard something might be, like the walk, but on how much you’ll get out of it.
Harrison Heal

Originally, I thought the Odyssey would be boring but now that I’ve finished the program, a bit of me says I wish it would’ve lasted a bit longer. A positive I took away from it was that it put me outside my comfort zone and stretched my limits, so although I instinctively wanted to stop, it helped me realise I can push myself more than I do. My most memorable experience was when my group was going around Fremantle to do the Scavenger Hunt, it was fun and chaotic at the same time, and my group really testing me and my friend’s patience. In terms of character development, the biggest area of growth is my confidence and perseverance. My advice for future Year 9s doing the Odyssey is to apply themselves, do everything they can, and of course have a good time.
Joshua Wijaya