Young Leaders Conference
In April, two Primary and five Secondary students spent four days at the Round Square Regional Conference for 10-12 year olds, held in the country town of Armidale, eastern Australia. Round Square regional conferences bring together students of different ages and nationalities from schools that are reasonably close geographically. These conferences provide outstanding personal development opportunities, enhancing students' social and leadership skills, broadening their intercultural understanding, and helping to forge lifelong friendships.
Prior to the start of the conference, the BSJ delegates explored Sydney for a day, touring the city on a hop-on/hop-off bus and picnicking with a view of the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Once they had reached Armidale the next day, the conference got underway with indoor and outdoor games, crafts, music-making and other activities aimed at helping the attendees bond.
On the second day of the conference, delegates watched an Aboriginal dance display, listening to a commentary and traditional instruments. At the local museum subsequently, they had an introduction to the Gold Rush era, and did some of their own panning in a nearby creek. This was followed by a working dog show. In the afternoon, the delegates canoed on a dammed lake and went on a bush walk to spot kangaroos. The day ended with an evening of traditional dancing, a barbecue and an explanation of Aboriginal body painting.
In preparation for ANZAC Day, which fell on the final day of the conference, delegates heard on the penultimate morning from Major Prendergast of the Australian Armed Forces, who explained the commemorations. Inspired by service, the delegates then spent the rest of the day planting trees and picking litter etc., before visiting a beef farm and trout hatchery. That evening, they heard from the Australian martial artist and multiple world-record holder, Mr Anthony Kelly.
ANZAC Day itself began with a parade and church service. Many different groups were represented and laid wreaths of remembrance. The BSJ group even bumped into the mother of former BSJ students from over a decade ago! After the service, in the afternoon, the delegates made origami, baked damper bread on a campfire, played on inflatables in the pool, and went on a search for kangaroos in the local university campus. On the final evening, they gave presentations about what they had learned, before enjoying an end-of-conference disco.