Leadership Activities

One of the earliest privileges of being a school captain is the opportunity to attend the yLead Australian Student Leadership Conference. Held at St. Hilda’s College, the conference lasted three days, beginning on Sunday 23rd of January. It began at 10.00 with welcomes from Matt and Brett, who ran the conference. We were introduced to the younger leaders who we would be working with, and played the inevitable "get to you know you" games with the 102 other students. Right from the earliest stages of the Conference it was clear what the atmosphere would be like. Everyone came up and said hi to you, and you did the same. Making friends was simple.··Acting as leaders on this camp were 2009 College Captains Matt Perichon, Lindsay Coward and Chris Breinstampf, immediately making us group favourites.

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The first day was centred around the phrase ‘The Power of One’, and included activities including ‘shifting your paradigm’ and ‘leaders know fear’, which involved setting goals for ourselves, whether they be goals we would strive to achieve over the next year, or long-term aspirations. Shortly after we began a session on impromptu speaking, a skill that was stressed as being an important tool for any leader. As the first day ended we were asked to get on our dancing shoes, as we entered Funky Town for the evening. ·Funky Town was a huge party, with the leaders teaching us several dances which increased in pace and difficulty as the night progressed. It was extremely hot in the room, and in combination with the dancing and intense games we played, our efforts to look nice were put to waste. It was an extremely fun night though, and further broke down barriers between people as we began to mingle more. 

The second day began early with a session entitled ‘Leadership is action’. We continued to work on aspects of leadership, goals and communication, but it was not until the evening that we reached what can only be called the pinnacle of the Conference. Words cannot describe the amount of trust and pure emotion that was contributed by students and leaders alike in this event, aptly named "The REAL Me". Everyone was encouraged to be completely honest with themselves and each other in response to a series of questions. After this, we were asked to stick a piece of A4 paper on the back of our clothes, and go around the room writing compliments about people on their sheets. It was an incredibly moving experience, and will be something we will never forget. Everyone present that night woke up the next morning with a completely different attitude to the Conference, to each other, and to ourselves.

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The third and final day revolved around focusing on our communities, and changes we can make to that community using our leadership. We discussed turning our vision into action, and even began planning our goals for Montmorency over the next year. After lunch we continued on our group projects that we’d been working on over the four days, and prepared them for our presentations at the closing ceremony. The accumulation of three days’ work was presented with fun, humour, and creativity to peers and parents. Then came the hardest part, saying goodbye to the many friends we had made over the three days. It took seconds to become friends with these people, but a whole lot longer to say farewell.

The phrase ‘life-altering’ was used a lot by Matt and Brett at the beginning of the Conference, but after the people we’ve met and the things that we’ve learnt, it would probably be an understatement.  The yLead experience began as an obligation, but as it came to an end, we all wished it had gone for a whole lot longer.

Laura McCluskey & Alexander Jones

College Captains

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