Building a community in the 2024 boarding houses

Recently, Clarendon’s boarding community hosted a Boarding House Activities Weekend to celebrate the start of a new school year. The event brought together new students, returning boarders and staff for a weekend of team building, goal setting and fun activities, including an excursion to Adventure Park.

The first Boarding House Activities Weekend of the year is a pivotal event in the boarding calendar, as it provides an opportunity for current boarders to welcome new students, build and strengthen relationships and create a positive, family-orientated culture for the boarding community of 2024.

The weekend also saw newly appointed Year 12 boarding house leaders participate in their first leadership responsibilities, acting as role models and friendly, approachable faces in the boarding houses. Jameson Adams, Clancy Leahy and Thomas Leahy are leaders of the Boys Boarding House, while Alicia Auwardt, Chantel Jackson, Charlize Leong and Lozz Muvengi are the Girls Boarding House leaders.

On Friday night, the boarders moved into groups of mixed year levels and houses, rotating through 10 different activities. Each student had a turn at leading their group’s activity, whether it be a physical task or a mental game.

“The activities weekend was a fun and genuine weekend,” said Thomas. “It was great to see everyone having a crack and getting involved in the activities while stepping outside of their comfort zones. For example, running around the Clarendon oval or completing a 300 piece puzzle in under six minutes.”

“This is such an important event in the boarding house calendar as it unites the boarding house community,” said Charlize. “It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know each other, meet people you haven’t spoken to before and assist new boarders to feel at ease. A goal for us this year is to hold more activities on weekends where we can bond with one another, create memories, continue boarding traditions and bring the boys and girls boarding houses together more often.”

On Saturday, all students and nine staff members visited Adventure Park. For the leaders, this was a significant opportunity for boarders to support and encourage one another as they tackled intimidating water slides.

“When students were reluctant to get out of their comfort zone, there were many that stepped up to reassure and assist them to do so,” said Clancy. “Not only was the weather great, but there was a very positive attitude amongst the whole boarding group. I enjoyed that everyone was willing to give everything a go while showcasing great initiative in all activities.”

“I enjoyed going on the water slides at the Adventure Park,” said Alicia. “It was very exciting and I had great fun taking boarding house tutor, Kate, down one of the slides. My aim this year is to establish a sense of community in the boarding house and make others feel more comfortable here through hosting more whole-boarding opportunities.”

On Sunday morning, the leaders assisted in preparing a bacon and egg breakfast barbeque for students and staff. They then returned to their activity groups to launch the 2024 boarding house community engagement project, during which students brainstormed ideas for fundraisers and opportunities to raise awareness of important causes or participate in community service. Ideas included raising awareness of men’s mental health, promoting the Food Is Free co-curricular activity, setting up donation boxes for clothing in the boarding houses and hosting bake sales.

“One of our collective goals is to have a greater impact on the community through community service initiatives or fundraisers for causes we feel connected to,” said Jameson. “With multiple groups organising separate initiatives for a cause of their choice, our group landed on a fundraiser for either The Ballarat Soup Bus or Meals on Wheels within the Ballarat community.”

“One of my goals is to promote open communication, mutual respect, and encourage active participation from all boarders,” said Chantel. “The activities weekend allowed us to create meaningful relationships and bonds within our community, and we were all grateful for the opportunity to strengthen our boarding house family and make lasting memories together.”

The student leaders are grateful for the support from Head of Boys Boarding, Michael Searl, and Head of Girls Boarding, Sarah McCleary, who share a desire to foster a sense of community within the boarding houses and extend that positive energy into the local community.

We look forward to following the journey of our boarding house community in 2024.