Annual College Staff Retreat
First Semester concluded following a highly successful Staff Retreat. This time is devoted each year to allow our staff to draw aside to reflect upon our Christian faith and the importance this has in our respective roles.
Following on from last year we progressed on our journey of ‘Teaching and Working Christianly’. This year, the staff participated in a range of workshops that they selected to support their individual spiritual walk and development.
This year in addition to having Dr. Ken Dickens (Principal of the National Institute for Christian Education) and Mr. Chris Parker (keynote presenter in 2013), some of our own teaching staff and members of the College Board presented extremely powerful sessions aimed to equip participants for the role they play in encouraging and nurturing Christian faith.
Some of the staff had the opportunity to explore practical aspects of servant hood through volunteering at ‘Urban Seed’ and preparing and serving lunch at the ‘One Care Geelong’ community lunch. A large number of staff participated in a session on mental health conducted by Julie Arnall from ‘RUOK?’.
One of the very powerful sessions gave participants the privilege to meet and hear the story of an Iranian man currently living in Geelong on a Community Detention Visa. His incredible story of his life in Iran, journey to Australia by boat, rescue by the Australian Navy and experiences since arriving was inspiring and challenging, evoking extremely emotional responses from everyone hearing what he had to say.
The annual staff dinner provided us with the opportunity to acknowledge significant contributions by our colleagues who have served 10, 15 and 20 years as well as others who recently completed further studies.
We particularly celebrated 20 years service by Mr. Kevin Smith, Mr. Peter Peake, Mr. Stephen Riddle and Mr. Syd Strauch. It was fitting that Mr. Peake received a guard of honour featuring a tribute to his infamous colourful socks whilst being presented. Mr. Smith and Mr. Strauch received an emotional standing ovation and Mr. Geoff Trevaskis and Ms. Jess Bennett from the Bellarine Campus were congratulated on completing their studies in Masters of Education.
Each year the Staff Retreat provides a most important time of reflection and growth.