CAS Project: Learning Outcomes 1-6
My CAS project was, with the help of my colleague, Sam Lye, organising the boarding house's Relay for Life activity. It is a Cancer Council fun run that occurs across Australia. For the last 3 years, the boarding house has been participating in the Sutherland Shire walk at Wanda Beach, Cronulla. Coincidentally, the Sutherland contingent has been the highest fundraising group for those three years!
The project consisted of several components. The first was to put our own spin on the event. We did this by dividing the boarding house into two 'teams', which Mr. Coull then emailed out. The communication went to the entire boarding community, and it, therefore, made more sense for Sir to send the email instead of us.
We decided to organize the teams alphabetically, to avoid any backlash for separating friends and to have an equal balance of ages in both groups.
Our next two jobs were to begin the fundraising process and to start the beginnings of a 'walking roster'. We were able to use our existing account to register for this year's event and begin fundraising. Mr Coull proceeded to send these links out to the entire boarding community;
Once the teams were out, the boys had let us know when they can walk and if they are able to. It was the middle of the winter sports season, so boys like Seluini were injured and unable to walk.
There were countless exchanges with boys, both in person and over email, which eventually led to the production of a final roster. Whilst it may seem simple, teenage boys are not particularly organized, and trying to force them to be was very difficult. It required me to be patient and communicate clearly.
The event itself was an enjoyable evening. The roster ran, for the most part, to plan, however, some last-minute changes needed to be made. We had plenty of food, spare sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and the marquee was set up by a few of the boys going down on Friday afternoon. The most important section of the night, the survivors walk, was also the most touching. It is a time where all the carers for and survivors of cancer go around the track and give you a chance to interact with them. Hearing about their selflessness, courage, and struggle was inspiring and touching.
After the event, we conducted a barbeque over 4th period and lunchtime. It was very successful, raising almost $400 and selling out of food. The food was provided by the Newington Cafeteria Catering Company, but we had correspondence about amounts needed and relevant equipment.
I completed a risk assessment of the project, as it includes being off school campus and interaction with strangers:
LO1 - Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
Partaking in my CAS project was a learning experience for me, as it was the first time I have planned an event for a large group of people. Whilst I think of myself as a good communicator, I was forced to develop this skill. I am also quite impatient, and this process forced me to improve this.
LO2 - Demonstrates that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
As I am sure my teachers are aware, coordinating large groups of teenage boys is, in it of itself, a challenge, and this is made more difficult when it involves making them sleep on the ground and waking up in the night to walk around a park!
LO3 - Demonstrates how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
Whilst the boarding house has been attending Relay for Life for a few years, we took initiative and changed the structure of it, making the house two teams as well as setting up a fundraising barbeque.
LO4 - Shows commitment and perseverance to a CAS experience
The project took a month, and there were some very frustrating times throughout. It was hard to begin we did not have access to the Boarding House logins for the Relay for Life Website initially as well as the 'flaky' nature of the boys' planning abilities when asking them about their available times. However, I persevered and eventually found a roster that worked.
LO5 - Demonstrate the skills and benefits of working collaboratively
My entire project was collaborative, in both the splitting the boarding house into two teams with Sam as well as the fact I was working with my peers in boarding to orchestrate the event. Without Sam's help and the boys' cooperation it would not have been possible.
LO6 - Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
The Relay for Life Event is a fundraiser for the Cancer Council. Whilst the fundraising aspect was important, and I gained satisfaction from organizing events, I found more engagement in the conversations with the cancer carers and survivors. Hearing first hand about the devastation that cancer causes to people and their families was far more meaningful and poignant than fundraising or reading about it, and that is how I engaged with an issue of global significance.
This CAS Project was a learning experience for me in many ways, as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Inevitably, my organizational and leadership skills developed. This project was organized whilst living with the boys, and I had to strike a balance between trying to be an efficient organizer and not annoying everyone! I also learned that sometimes as a leader, one has to 'bite the bullet', giving myself the 'graveyard shift' from 3:00-5:00am when no-one was volunteering to do it.
The CAS project provided me with an immense sense of satisfaction and pride having completed it. Working with my fellow boarders to overcome organizational challenges and developing my own skillset