Leadership Camp

Our 2017 Prefects (24) and the majority of the RCL attended a Leadership Camp in Pennington, at Pennington Beach Resort for two nights. The boys were accompanied by Mr Mathie (Head of Prefects), Mrs Steytler (Head of the RCL), Mr Liddell (Mentorship) and Miss Smith, who will be assisting Mr Mathie next year.
On Wednesday 23 November, after the final examinations for the year, we hopped on the bus and headed for Pennington. Upon arrival, we were greeted by very enthusiastic Camp Facilitators, who informed the boys about the rules and showed them to their comfortable sleeping quarters.
The afternoon activities began with a bang! Split into three groups across the grades, the boys engaged in an Amazing Race. At the end of the race the groups had to have composed a war cry, a skit and make a mascot out of anything they could find. The one group was very creative, using pliable branches wound to look like a Horsefly! These mascots had to accompany the groups on all their activities for the duration of their stay.
That evening, after supper, Mr Mathie ran a leadership session where he asked them to measure themselves as leaders according to various laws. This was very successful, and introspective, and created a direction for the other upcoming sessions and activities. In the evening the boys engaged in fun night activities run by the facilitators.
A jam-packed day followed. Straight after breakfast, Mr Mathie led another leadership session where the newly appointed leaders identified ‘Brotherhood’ as a vision for 2017. The vision of ‘Brotherhood’ was unpacked to devise a strategy to work towards our goal. The most interesting outcome of this camp was that the younger learners were embraced and felt comfortable enough to also voice their opinions to the rest of the leadership body.
The morning consisted of various physical activities: an obstacle course which tested their balance and co-ordination, archery, and an impressive climbing wall. The boys cheered each other on, especially during the harder, more challenging activities. A pivotal moment was when Sandile Nduzi, apprehensive to attempt the climbing wall, managed to up and over it! Mrs Steytler, who had promised Nduzi she would attempt it if he did, had no choice but to follow suit! I am sure that the support from the boys below made it much easier to conquer their fears!
After pie, mash and gravy for lunch, we strolled a fair way across the beach to a lagoon where the boys kayaked and played touch rugby on the sand. Cham Zondeki and Pepsi Buthelezi were in their kayak for a little longer negotiating their paddle-rhythm and the wind, and they eventually arrived back to where they started! The boys walking back from the beach, sang some infectious songs that even had the Pennington facilitators singing!
That evening, after supper, we had the opportunity to engage with Richards Bay High School. Their Headmaster asked our boys to chat to theirs about our traditions at DHS. This was an interesting experience, especially for us as educators, to listen to our boys verbalize their thoughts and feelings, especially those workshopped during the first two sessions. The exchange was important and allowed for the two schools to question and learn from each other about their various ways of leading … further bonding ensued late into the night around the camp fire where they sang songs and performed their schools’ war cries.
The next morning, straight after breakfast, we watched the war cries and skits that the boys had prepared the day we arrived. These were very entertaining and had us all grinning from ear-to-ear!
The last session of our stay concluded the camp. In this session the RCL and Prefects separated to discuss the various roles and responsibilities that are needed to be fulfilled to ensure effective leadership in 2017.
We packed up and bid our farewells to the Camp Facilitators. They were so complimentary about our boys and they even promised to make a trip to watch a rugby game next year!
This camp has certainly built a solid foundation for our boys and was immensely enjoyed by all!
Kirsten Smith

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