Over three sessions in August a group of students at Wellington Secondary College were joined by a trio of vibrant teachers who were keen to improve participant’s leadership, confidence and community involvement. This three day program is the first in a three step program which culminates in students becoming involved in their own community sports event.
Tom Henderson, Ananth Gopal and Michelle Nussey from their youth focused leadership organisation Polykala, joined the students in a range of inclusive and mindful activities. Often, the activities focused on physical movement, harnessing student's energy to overcome barriers in confidence and participation. Throughout the participatory games, often built around team sports, students had to rely on one another and concentrate.
Ananth, co-founder of Polykala, spoke of the program being based around adaptive leadership. Students were asked to identify the things that held them back, pinpoint this insecurity and find a mechanism to improve. Sport and games provide a great way for students to begin this process. Specific public speaking techniques, including monitoring breath and stance, were also focused on.
The sessions culminated in each student preparing a short piece to perform in front of their fellow classmates. The story topics varied greatly with students showing a high degree of autonomy and creativity. This task was a precursor to the students Graduation Evening, held at the City of Monash later this year. Inviting their family and friends the students are able to deliver a speech on a topic of their choice, something many thought was previously unachievable.
Practically building on their leadership skills students are then encouraged to get involved in their local community, in previous years students have created a team for 'Relay For Life' to raise money for charity.
In stating what they had learnt many students chose to focus on the fact the program simply proved that 'they could' do things they previously thought were unachievable. The students spoke of how they would never have stood in front of an audience and delivered a speech, they also spoke of how much fun they had, discovering their own abilities and that of others in the group.