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Leadership Camp: an awakening experience; even those who didn't know they were asleep

Posted by Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarborough on 15 November 2019
Leadership Camp: an awakening experience; even those who didn't know they were asleep

Three days, two nights, and quite a few boxes of tissues later, the year 11 leadership camp drew to a close. As myself and the rest of year 11 said our goodbyes, I couldn't help but notice that the hugs were longer, and the smiles were wider. As a cohort, we had set out bright and early on Wednesday morning with the uncertainty of what was to come; we expected reflection, meditation, mediocre camp food.

Upon arriving at the beautiful mountain range in Toowoomba, we were immediately thrown into activities and seminars to explore this concept of leadership; what was it? We had previously defined leadership by a dictionary and a badge. But the first day soon revealed to us that leadership is nuanced; it has very little to do with the people holding a title. Teambuilding activities taught us that leadership means teamwork, communication, and cooperation with our peers to pursue the same goals.It was inspiring to witness people who are often reserved in our grade step up and take charge of these activities when they realised, they could offer some skill. Planning and discussion time with our house groups taught us that leadership is about listening and compromising. While our house captains for next year had great ideas and vision, it was the contribution of our peers that put these ideas and visions into actions. The evening activities were the most emotional and challenging for our entire cohort. They required us all to be honest and open-minded; two qualities I have come to learn that are essential to leadership. I found myself feeling connected to peers I had only ever shared a single conversation with. This experience taught me perhaps the most important aspect of leadership; respect. The close of this retreat allowed us all to view each other with fresh perspectives. Age-old grudges fell away, and the bonds between us were tangibly strengthened.

Over the course of the retreat we explored the concept of being a "servant leader". As a servant leader, you are a servant above all for those around you; it requires you to consider the needs of your peers before anything else. Upon reflection, I realised I had been witnessing this leadership in my own peers throughout the entire retreat. I saw it in the teambuilding activities, the evening reflections, and even the meal breaks; individuals from tables would offer themselves to help serve food or wash up dishes for no other motivation than to help their peers... or perhaps to be the first to get dessert.

The 2019 leadership camp has been an awakening experience for all of us; even those who didn't know they were asleep. As a cohort we are now stronger, braver and possess fiercer bonds with one another. These bonds will carry us through the most challenging schooling year of our lives, year 12.

As servant leaders, I am confident that we will all strive to serve our community, our school, and our peers with the utmost passion. (P.S: the food was amazing)

Heidi Leeman

Author: Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarborough
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