Miri – 3 February 2010 – 43 secondary school students in Miri had what they described as an experience of a lifetime at the first-ever John Curtin Leadership Camp (JCLC 2010) at the campus of Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) here on 30 and 31 January 2010.
The students were from SMK Chung Hua, SMK St. Joseph, SMK St. Columba, SMK Lutong and SM Pei Min.
The objective of the camp, which was facilitated by student ambassadors of the university’s John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA), was to help the participants develop leadership and communication skills, and their potential as future leaders with entrepreneurial spirit and strong community values, as well as establish a rapport between the JCLA and local secondary school students.
The training modules conducted during the JCLC Camp were adaptations of JCLA leadership training modules, which seek to instill the three core values of Vision, Leadership and Community Service expounded by former Australian Prime Minister John Curtin, who is regarded as one of Australia’s most successful national leaders, and after whom Curtin University is named.
Topics covered included critical and creative thinking, event planning, and teamwork. The participants were also given the task of organising and running a community service project which they can conduct either in their schools or within the community. They have two months to plan and implement their projects under the guidance of the JCLC facilitators.
All the participants were thrilled to participate in the camp and learn from the JCLA student ambassadors. The opportunity to experience first-hand life at the vast Curtin Sarawak campus and discover the wide range of facilities it has to offer its students was also a special treat for them. All agreed the camp was a great success.
“I have learned a lot from this camp and have absolutely no regrets being here. I learned not only the qualities and skills required of an effective leader, but also things like never giving up despite all odds and adapting to situations in order to achieve my goals. I was rather apprehensive about participating at first, but now I wish this camp will never end because of all the new friends I have made,” commented Fam Jia Wen, a participant from SMK Chung Hua.
Echoing Fam’s senitiments, Zechary Francis of SMK Lutong said, “This camp is very different and the best I have participated in. We are made to feel very comfortable and pampered with good food, and not only have I learned a lot of new skills, made new friends and had lots of fun, it has inspired me in such a way that I want to change myself so as I can be a better me. I hope this camp will be continued so that other students will get to benefit like me.”
The John Curtin Leadership Academy is a prestigious year-long leadership programme developed by Curtin University of Technology in Australia to groom young leaders beyond the classroom. It has two intakes each year and candidates must either be nominated by a Curtin club or society president, or by a Curtin staff member.
The programme consists of workshops, seminars and two semester-long projects. The Foundation Project teaches fund-raising, relationship-building and networking skills, while the Advanced Project focuses on developing students’ work ethic and business acumen, along with other skills such as project and conflict management, presentation and communication skills, as well as entrepreneurship.
Each semester, the participants work on a group project that provides a benefit to the community, and reinforces the skills learned during workshops and module seminars. In addition, there is a Poster Presentation at the close of each semester, where they report the progress made with each project. Future employers are invited to attend, allowing them to evaluate the integrity of the participants and consider them as potentially valuable assets to their organisations.