2015 Smith Family Young Aspiring Leaders’ Summit

Outward Bound Australia is proud to welcome you to the 2015 Smith Family Young Aspiring Leaders’ Summit blog!

This blog will provide an opportunity for you to gain insight into the seven-day adventure of the Young Aspiring Leaders from all over Australia as they complete an exciting journey of self-discovery in the beautiful Namadgi National Park.

The National Aspiring Leadership Summit is a week-long leadership and personal development program that Outward Bound Australia have been running in partnership with the Smith Family since 2009. It is a program that provides a number of adventurous activities and leadership opportunities for individuals, and also delivers significant social impact by helping young people thrive, not just survive. During the program each participant will plan a community project of their choosing to be implemented upon return to their community. Throughout the program they will be provided with education and support to help them with this planning. Most importantly, they will present their program to a panel of business and community leaders and receive feedback and encouragement about their project.

We invite you to follow their journey by regularly visiting this blog and leaving your comments. This program will begin on Wednesday 10 June, 2015.

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Arrival Day

With an early start for the participants this morning they have been gradually arriving at our National Base for the leadership summit. We have participants coming from every state in Australia to learn from Outward Bound and each other about themselves and their leadership qualities.

The day has been spent meeting our instructors, being shown the facilities and meeting their peers who they will be spending the next week with. At the moment they are all strangers, from different parts of the country, but by the end of next week they will finish up as friends who have shared this unique experience together.

Tomorrow will be the official opening of the program with our traditional raising of the ‘Blue Peter’ flag which indicates that a vessel is “outward bound”. All programs raise this flag to symbolise the journey starting.

Keep in touch by posting your comments below. We would love to hear from you.

Day 1

All participants were woken with the sun for an early breakfast, as today would be their first full day at Outward Bound Australia on the 2015 National Aspiring Leaders’ Summit. The participants were formally welcomed to Outward Bound Australia with a traditional Blue Peter Ceremony.

At the ceremony, the Blue Peter flag is raised by the participants and staff and will continue to fly while the participants are out on course. This tradition traces back to Outward Bound’s nautical roots. The Blue Peter was raised when a ship was ‘Outward Bound’, leaving the safety of the habour for an adventure on the open seas.

The groups were then divided up so they could tackle different activities for the day. All groups completed the Giant Ladder – a team building, demanding ropes activity. They found this one of the most challenging activities of the day! They spent a lot of time throughout the day learning the many different styles of leadership, as well as discovering which archetype of leadership they were most similar to.

They spent the afternoon painting masses of colour as a group. The ‘Colour Mass’ is a visual arts and creative activity where the group has to work together to produce a painting. It is a great team building activity that is particularly well suited to the visually and kinesthetically inclined.

The participants have been equipped with some great leadership tools already and are excited for what tomorrow will bring.

Day 2

Today was an adventure of many kinds.

Group 1 took on a range of very different activities. The group learnt a variety of knots and roping skills which they will need to use for their great descent into the Orroral Valley tomorrow. They spent time getting to know each other’s passions and concerns and how they can use them to make a positive impact.  Participants also did some exploration of a large granite rock site colloquially known as ‘Lego Land’. Lego Land is filled with huge boulders, creating interesting crawl through tunnels and cave like experiences.

Group 2 started their day off with a problem-solving mission where they needed to work together using communication, initiative and resourcefulness. They then hit the trail for a reflective solo walk called the Values Journey. It is on this journey the participants visit a collection of stations where they are prompted with questions and thoughts about their own personal values. They then spent the afternoon setting some personal SMART goals.

The night ended with a spectacular rosy-golden sunset as the crisp night air filtered through the Namadgi National Park, a time for all to settle into camp.

Day 3

Today was an exciting day for all, out in the beautiful Namadgi National Park. For Group 1 the day started with some Navigation. The group had to work together and navigate themselves to the site for the Descent Activity. In the activity the group were required to use the knowledge they gained yesterday of knots to create a pack lowering system, abseil and flying fox. With some guidance from the instructors the group successfully completed the Descent and navigated their way into the magic Orroral Valley, where the group was met by hundreds of kangaroos. The group had some big learnings today about the importance of communication while working as a team but the group really enjoyed the challenge.

Meanwhile Group 2 started their day with an activity called Chicken Run. This activity helped the group to develop communication skills, which will be now implemented into the rest of the course and future activities. The group was then transported and dropped off on the Orroral Ridge in Namadgi National Park. The group here began preparations for the Descent Activity the next day. With the help of their instructors the group learnt and practiced their knot skills and started to develop a plan for their successful descent into the Orroral Valley. The group also discussed and brainstormed ideas for projects to take back into their communities as future leaders.

The night ended with another spectacular sunset as the participants settled into camp.

Day 4

Day 4 was another beautiful day in Namadgi National Park. Both groups woke to a chilly morning but were provided another sunny warm day.

Group 1 spent the day in the Orroral Valley where they completed the values walk. The participants used this walk to identify what different values there are and what vales closely aligned to them personally. The information they gather from the walk will help influence and help the participants chose a topic for their project.

Following this the group went into a ‘create a project’ session and discussed numerous ideas of projects that they could take back into their communities. The participants are starting to get excited about their upcoming projects! This session ended the group’s adventure in Namadgi National Park as they were transported back to base to complete the Chicken Run Activity.

Group 2 spent the day completing the Descent Activity. In this activity the group had to successfully navigate to the correct location and construct a lowering system, abseil and flying fox. The group used the knowledge they had gained yesterday, communication and a little help from their instructors to successfully complete and descend into the Orroral Valley. The participants worked really well and came together as a group!

It was another successful day for both groups, who are all looking forward to what tomorrow has to bring.

Day 5

Both groups united as one today to continue the program as a collective ‘NALS’ team! To begin the day a public speaking workshop was delivered by an Outward Bound Australia Instructor. The participants really enjoyed meeting someone new. At first, they were daunted by the thought of public speaking, but then gradually relaxed as the workshop explored body language, speech, audience etiquette and many more aspects. The aim of the workshop was to equip the participants with the necessary skills to deliver a confident presentation tomorrow.

Following the workshop, the participants were visited by a guest speaker – James Presneil who was the generator of the Red Frogs here in Canberra. Red Frogs is a support program that aims to provide young people aged 15-25 with positive peer presence in alcohol-fuelled environments and educate them on safe partying behaviours. We hope that his presentation will inspire our emerging leaders to create their own projects to take back to their local communities and influence the way in which they deliver their presentations tomorrow.

After lunch the participants explored a variety of workshops and activities, covering topics such as project management, being an influencer, setting goals and how/who to contact as potential stakeholders for their projects. By the end of the skills sessions, everyone was full of information that would help in many ways for their project planning, execution and maintenance.

The last activity to finish the day was called – The Box. In this complex teamwork based activity the groups were tasked with solving a puzzle. Once the puzzle was solved, they would then need to disarm the box without making any mistakes in the sequence. One wrong move would lead to detonating the box! It was a very tough activity, however at the end, all participants learnt new skills to help them in their project endeavours; People, Product, Process.

A massive day of experiential learning here at the Outward Bound Australia National Base, everyone is really looking forward to the presentations tomorrow. Stay tuned for more!

Day 6

It’s the last full day at Outward Bound Australia for the 2015 Smith Family Young Aspiring Leaders’ Summit! Today is the day that the participants have been working towards, today they would present their speeches about their projects to a panel. Before the presentations went underway, the morning was dedicated to project planning and presentation preparation. The participants practiced their speeches by themselves and also in front of staff from Outward Bound Australia, who could offer advice and suggestions. The nerves and excitement heightened as the time came to begin the presentations. The participants were allocated 3 minutes to present to a small panel consisting of a members of staff from Smith Family, National Australia Bank Outward Bound Australia. The participants also presented their speeches to their teammates and a whole lot of Outward Bound Australia staff.

With a full audience, each participant delivered their ideas. Some incredible, original and inspiring stories and projects were shared throughout the presentations. It was wonderful to see the talent and passion in all participants.

A celebration dinner was had after all the formalities were over. Great conversations and laughs were shared over a BBQ. For the final time for the program, the participants split into their two groups to complete their final debrief. During this debrief, each group revisited the paintings they created on their first full day at Outward Bound Australia.  Each participant chose a certain piece of the painting that represented their time on the program and was given a frame to put it in. This personalised artwork will serve as a memento of their time at Outward Bound.

It is evident that the participants have learnt a lot about themselves and each other over the past week. We hope that the 2015 Third Link Young Aspiring Leaders’ Summit has equipped these young people with the necessary tools to re-enter their communities with confidence to deliver their projects, and motivation to strive for success in their future endeavours.

We wish everyone on the program all the best and look forward to hearing about the progress of each project in their communities.

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