JJAMM Retreat

Student leaders Lucia Maalouf, College Captain, and Emma Bennett, College Vice Captain embarked on a five-day journey last week (Saturday 11th February- Wednesday 15th February), referred to as JJAMM.The focus of this conference was on Julian Tenison Woods, Joseph and Mary MacKillop, and encompassed the essence of the Josephite charism, which is strongly interlinked with the religious history of Bethany College.

The girls were among student representatives from 25 Josephite schools all around Australia, and parts of New Zealand. These leaders spent five days networking, and stepping out of their comfort zones. Lucia and Emma were given the opportunity to engage in a series of workshops, which allowed them to flourish intellectually and spiritually. Students from Bethany were exposed to like minded individuals, who collaborated to construct a vision and purpose for their own schools, in 2017.

The conference included an array of activities that challenged the girls physically and mentally. One particular activity that proved most challenging was the walk across the Harbour Bridge in extreme heat. Other activities such as weeding, sought to demonstrate servant leadership. Further to this, students engaged in group work activities, which harnessed both their musical and artistic talents. All activities aimed to replicate the style of team leadership students would have to foster when arriving back at school, and working with their respective SRC teams.

But, it wasn’t all work and no play. There was plenty of time for reflection and relaxation, in the form of card games, outdoor activities and a luxurious pool. By introducing participants to two distinct locations over the course of the week, students were able to experience Sydney’s city, as well as the countryside. The change of scenery between Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney and St Joseph’s Spirituality and Education Centre in Kincumber meant our surroundings changed from the fast paced city centre, to the serene and tranquil grounds of St Joseph’s. Both locations hold much significance in the Josephite story, MacKillop Place being the location of Mary MacKillop’s tomb, and  St Joseph’s being one of the boys orphanages run by MacKillop herself.

This retreat proved a rich opportunity for students to compare and contrast the strategies used by other leaders, and also provided a sense of community for our girls, to recognise that Josephite schools all around Australia and New Zealand possess similar customs and traditions.

Lucia and Emma are to be commended on their hard work throughout the conference. They were a true credit to the Bethany community, and were recognised for their professionalism on numerous occasions. In the busyness of their HSC year, they were able to walk away from Kincumber with a clear vision for their leadership goals in 2017. Both Bethany girls are now proud friends of student leaders from all over Australia and New Zealand.

A special thank you to organisers,  Sister Jan and Karen Oxley. Their ongoing support, and vision to educate and guide school leaders is a true asset to the memory that “we are but travellers here” (Saint Mary MacKillop).

Miss Kahlie Taouk