27 November 2017

Community and Service

Overseas Service Trips

I recently attended a conference organised by the Australian Association for Religious Education, focusing on overseas service trips. A number of schools presented, including Scotch, with the emphasis on the impact that these trips have on the students, staff and the broader community. Within the Catholic sector, the majority of schools have strong links with overseas Catholic orders or faith-based mission projects. There is a strong focus on supporting established church partnerships in countries such as Timor-Leste and Cambodia. Scotch has three established overseas trips to communities in Cambodia, India and Tanzania. While there is perhaps less emphasis of church links, as a school of the Uniting Church, service to others less fortunate is a main driver.

There is little doubt that those students fortunate enough to go on a service trip often return home with an altered perception of the world and their place in that world. The impact can be profound, transformational even. The term 'western guilt' was mentioned at the conference as a possible outcome of such trips - guilt for having so much when others in the less developed (non-western world) have so little. There was consensus that this is not generally the feedback from our students. Overwhelmingly they return with a deep understanding of the opportunities they have been presented with to succeed in life and motivation to not squander these gifts.

I was able to report that during the last two expeditions to Tanzania, one of the most profound experiences our students had was sitting down with students their own age from secondary schools in Dar es Salaam to discuss questions concerning environmental issues, the role of the media and government, hopes for the future and other issues important to their home regions. I feel that it is important that our students on all overseas service trips have an opportunity to spend time in dialogue with students their own age and not just the young children who tend to be the focus of visits to schools and orphanages. When our students sit down and talk to similar aged students in less developed parts of the world they are quick to reflect on the advantages they have and imperative not to waste these advantages - rather to use them to raise the quality of life for others both at home and elsewhere in the world.

service photo

Overseas service trips are not in any way a 'pinnacle' of the service-learning programme. There is no hierarchy in providing service. However, while most boys have valuable exposure with local agencies, the overseas service trips provide another option, albeit one involving expedition preparation, international travel and cultural emersion.

Volunteering With Cricket Champs

cricket champs

Cricket Champs is a fantastic junior cricket programme fully endorsed by the Western Australian Cricket Association that caters for kids with various disabilities and special needs in local junior community cricket club environments. Over the past few years a number of senior Scotch students have volunteered with this organisation. If you would like more information about the programme - for participants or volunteers, please go to the Cricket Champs web site.

Round Square Global Recognition

Last week Scotch College was formally welcomed as a Global Member of the Round Square organisation. Our Global membership follows three years as a Regional member. This now means that Scotch is recognised as providing exceptional experiential learning opportunities for our students in the areas of Internationalism, Democracy, Environmental Awareness, Leadership and Service - the Round Square IDEALS. Apart from the recognition internationally, full membership opens up additional opportunities for our students to exchange, to join Round Square international service expedition and to attend the annual Round Square Global conferences.

round square schools

For more information visit the Round Square web site.

Mr Bill Cordner

Director of Community and Service