Where better to host such an event than Emu Gully? For many of us, alighting at Emu Gully was a familiar sensation, filling us with nostalgia for our primary school camp experience all those years ago. As for the girls who weren’t with us in 2015 - the excitement was palpable. We all edged forward in our seats to catch a small glimpse of Emu Gully and take in the various apparatus. From the beginning of the day we were divided into groups, mixed with girls we may not necessarily spend a lot of time with at school. We found ourselves not only working together but also using one another's strengths to ensure the success of the team.
I still couldn’t help but wonder what ‘leadership day’ would really mean for the girls of Year 10. Surely we can’t all be leaders, functioning in some sort of ochlocracy. Yet, after participating in the first few activities of the day, I began to understand that leading means something different to everyone, whether it be encouraging others, formulating plans, instructing/dispersing information to the team, or even offering to do the manual work or go first to pave the way for others (sometimes literally - as was the case in the western front bridge activity). It also taught us that a leader is not just the loudest voice. To succeed we all must work together, having individuals lead from a variety of different positions throughout the group. We had to take charge and lead from the beginning, the middle and the end of the activity as we all had different perspectives. Whether it was on the western front, or the ground at the bridge, everyone could see the scenario from a different position and needed to contribute their ideas for the success of the team. One person's strengths could compensate for another's weakness.
We came away from our final activity of the day before The Kokoda Track, or better known simply as ‘The Mud’, fostering a sense of camaraderie and the realisation that we don't want to return to school and lose the newfound friendships and spirit we’d developed at Emu Gully. No. We were and still are, determined to take the lessons we learnt that day about ourselves and each other and incorporate them into our daily lives back at Glennie. The activity that truly solidified this sentiment however was the dreaded mud...thick, black, and cold mud. Trudging through it as a team strengthened our bond as a grade in a way only being fully submerged in the activity that we dreaded most can. A stretcher on our shoulders, pushing and pulling each other along, suddenly showed us that the mud wasn’t so bad, in fact there was no place I’d rather be than in that mud with the stellar group of Year 10 girls.
The Year 10 cohort who stepped off the bus that morning was just that - a cohort - a group of girls whose only similarity was their year level at school. I can comfortably say that after our shared experience, the young women who boarded the buses that took us to Emu Gully, later that same day were (though muddier) a whole lot closer. One could go as far as even saying a sisterhood.
Mackenzie Oliphant and Jess Rowe
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