Last week, Mr McQueen (our newly appointed Senior Chaplain) and I met with an organisation called the Camp Gallipoli Foundation. The Foundation exists to help preserve and foster the unique spirit of mateship that was forged on the shores of Gallipoli, and throughout the First World War's battlefields.
I mention this for two reasons. Firstly, next year, the Foundation will remember the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings with camps in all the State Capitals, as well as Auckland, to which schools are invited. These camps will involve “a special night of remembrance, entertainment, mateship and the celebration of the birth of that special Aussie & Kiwi ANZAC spirit. Each venue will have spaces set aside for camping using swags, just like the Diggers did. There will be entertainment, special guests, movies, documentaries, great food options and a very special Dawn Service on Anzac day itself”
Further, at these camps, participants will: “commemorate the deeds of those brave ANZAC’s one hundred years ago whilst eating great tucker, watching historic footage on huge screens, seeing iconic entertainers live on stage and camping in authentic swags … In addition, the Dawn Service honouring those who have fallen will be something you and your family will never forget."
Mr McQueen and I were deeply moved by the Foundation’s presentation, and were equally impressed by the potential of the camps to speak into the hearts of our students. The school has therefore purchased 350 tickets (the maximum any one organisation can purchase) for the Brisbane Camp. Three hundred of these will shortly be available to Emmanuel families ($99 per person), through the school office (details to follow) and we are offering the other fifty to our ConnECt schools in the West of the State. So, if your children will be in Year 5 or above, I would strongly recommend that you look at Camp Gallipoli's website (www.campgallipoli.com) and think about whether you might like to join us on the 24 – 25 April 2015, for what I am sure will be a deeply affecting night.
The second reason I mention my meeting with Camp Gallipoli, is because last week I was also privileged to attend the Year 8’s Compass Program celebration. At the Celebration, I heard tales of how our Year 8s have been undertaking a whole host of challenges designed by their staff team, to help them as they grow towards our "ideal graduate, " that is grow towards becoming:
“... compassionate human beings, unafraid to be, competent and willing to navigate life using their moral compasses to make wise and just choices; strategic participants in a global setting, people of faith and integrity, aware of an eternal destiny. “
Further, by the time this newsletter goes to print, the Year 10’s will also have completed their Journey program, the Year 11 school leaders will have been selected and will have begun the final part of their leadership development
As you know, all of these programs, and our many, many others, are all designed to gently help our students grow into the kind of leaders that we think the world needs - leaders who, “through the force of their own character and values, influence other people and groups around them, towards change for good.”
Like so much here at Emmanuel, these programs are intrinsically collaborative, and therefore filled with the Spirit of mateship. Inevitably, people’s definitions of mateship vary, but for us, and the Gallipoli Foundation, this value is still central to all we do. I was reading an article on “mateship” recently, and it quoted the 19th Century author Alexander Harris and his book “Settlers and Convicts” (1847), in which he described the lives of the early Australian gold miners. In so doing, he wrote: “working together in the otherwise solitary bush; habits of mutual helpfulness arise, and these elicit gratitude, and that leads on to regard. Men under these circumstances often stand by one another through thick and thin; in fact it is a universal feeling that a man ought to be able to trust his own mate in anything.”
It will be that kind of mateship Camp Gallipoli wants to honour, and if our students can absorb such values, then they will most certainly become not just “ideal graduates”, but people capable of remarkable things: truly "strategic participants in a global setting" who will "stand by others through thick and thin."