01 Jun 2018
Round Square representatives Cameron Jones and Alex Hlavac spent a week in Perth in the April holidays, the only New Zealanders at a Round Square Australasia and East Asian Regional Conference.
The 50 students, including from Canada, China, Japan and Australia, were housed at Bunberry Cathedral Grammar School and, although at first it was somewhat daunting, the College boys soon settled in.
With a theme of “the footprints we leave”, the conference was addressed by guest speakers on topics such as the importance of volunteering, and the impact it can have on a community.
“I found this inspiring and it made me think about ways we can make a difference in New Zealand,” says Alex.
“We then acted on the words of the speakers and participated in activities such as removing invasive tree species, and making care packages for homeless people.”
The conference impressed upon him the impact of everything we do.
“Through our interaction with each other, or the environment, everything leaves an impression. And it is our duty to make that impression as positive as possible.”
The boys also enjoyed kayaking with dolphins, stand up paddleboarding, biking along the coast, and discovering the Bunberry Walk/Amazing Race.
Alex says the chance to attend the conference “allowed us to gain an understanding of other cultures, and how to communicate with people who do not speak English as a first language. Overall it was a great experience and I would highly recommend the Round Square conferences to anyone who is interested.”
Cameron, who was participating in his second Round Square conference, further outlined the conference activities.
“We spent a night in Perth on arrival, after a 7-hour flight, and went by bus down to Bunberry along with all the Chinese and Japanese representatives. The next few days were amazing, with the formal welcome, guest speakers and the kayak and dolphins, and paddle boarding.
“On Day 4 we drove further south to Dunsborough for more kayaking and biking along the coast, and Day 5 was spent as a service day – preparing car packages for homeless, getting rid of invasive plant species and tree planting.
“The final day we said our goodbyes. It was a very worthwhile event, and I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend.”
Dr Graeme Swanson was with the boys in Perth supervising the programme and its participants.