Who are our leaders of the future? While the focus was on sports, there was much more that 40, Year 10 Otaki College students learnt at the Ontrack Academy held recently at Nga Purapura. There they spent three days “learning” about themselves, their talents and goals.
While sporting skills are worked on and improved, Ontrack also focuses on developing attitudes and character traits through a combination of workshops and practical skills sessions.
“There are good life lessons during the course, though some things talked about won’t necessarily help sport,” said Dave Olive, Ontrack Academy coordinator. “But we aim to bring out the best in them, increasing their awareness of their potential and challenging them to use their talents to the best of their ability.”
The challenges included learning a new sport – speedball, fitness testing and gym sessions. These were interspersed with workshops around maximising talents, barriers to success, goal setting, character and reputation.
“I learnt that character is more important than reputation,” Joshua Nightingale said. “Your character is who you are; reputation is what people think of you.”
Tama Cook also spoke of character over reputation.
During the workshop on goal setting, they discussed setting goals, how to achieve them and getting through the barriers and “road bumps”.
“Barriers can stop you getting ahead, but no matter how big a barrier is, there’s always a way around it,” said Dallas Harrison-Connell.
Among the practical sessions, time was spent on working on their fundamental skills — speed and agility, hand eye coordination, core strength and spatial awareness, skills worked on during time in the gym and through activities.
The last afternoon’s practical session was spent playing the Ultimate Game where the kids were put into two teams with two to eight players on court for any spell. To begin the leader threw a ball onto the court while the players had to run to opposing ends, depending on the ball — rugby, soccer, netball, basketball, beach ball or a big exercise ball and on occasion a frisbee, the on-court players had to “play” that game scoring through the appropriate hoops, nets or touch line! While the event created a lot of fun and laughter, there was also plenty of determination to score displayed.
During the last workshop session, the students each completed an evaluation form which asked for comments on “what helped you at sport” and what did you learn.” Each student then received a certificate noting completion and participation in the course.
A highlight of the three days was a visit from former All Black Scott Waldrom and the Under 18 national boxing champion David Graham, also the recipient of the Vodafone Foundation World of Difference 2015.
Mr Olive said Ontrack was an ideal programme to develop leadership qualities and attitudes among young people. In schools where the programme has been organised, and once in the senior classes, students have stepped up as school and community leaders and to officiate and coach junior teams.
Otaki College’s head of physical education and health, Marcia Ohlson, said she sees the Ontrack programme as the foundation blocks to becoming future leaders in our school community, with its additional provision of focus and drive, particularly for the schools young men as futures role models within the college.
The Ontrack programme is delivered by Ignite Sport Trust, a youth development charity working throughout the Wellington region.
This three day programme included funding from the James Gibb Fund through the Otaki-Waikanae Presbyterian Parish.