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ARLP Course 27, Session 1 – ACT & NSW South Coast

19 May 2021

Following Session One’s hub model approach, participants met for the first time in person. The nine-day residential was held across Canberra, the ACT and NSW South Coast.

The participants met at Canberra airport and travelled to a remote location in the ACT where they were split into three groups. Each group was given a poem as a clue to guide them to a joint meeting place. The exercise explored both group and personal behaviour and solving problems in complex environments where multiple interpretations are possible.

Ngunnawal Elder Billy T welcomed participants to country upon arrival at Cuppacumbalong. Participants faced a challenging but fun afternoon, along with members of the ARLF, using their creativity, group collaboration and decision-making skills to complete the Escape Room challenge.

During their stay at Cuppa, the group spent time progressing their initiative project and undertaking Cultural Awareness Training by two members of the cohort. Having these sessions, on Aboriginal culture and Torres Strait Islander culture, delivered by members of the cohort made a real impact and was encouragingly inclusive.

Participants travelled to the fire-scarred mountain ranges east of Canberra, to the NSW South Coast. They were privileged to hear from local community members of their experience leading during the 2019/2020 bushfires. Federal Member for Gilmore, Fiona Philips shared her story of entering politics and supporting the community during COVID-19. The group invested time in wellbeing and giving back to the community through a street performance in Moruya.

The Cohort returned to Canberra where they undertook media training, learning the power of storytelling, translating content for target audiences, and the theory behind delivering a successful radio and television interview. Individuals were pushed out of their comfort zones through a performing arts workshop by Clare Moss and through discussing the importance of tackling difficult conversations in the workplace. The group was challenged between process and outcome-driven mindsets, reinforcing the importance of people, process and product.

The last day of the program saw participants visit Parliament House, the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, and meet with Their Excellencies at Government House. The Cohort had a rare and unexpected opportunity to perform a song for the guests at Government House.