Up for the challenge

26 May 2020

In the run-up to lockdown Julius Housemaster Mike Field and Deputy Housemaster Nikki Bleyendaal put their heads together and came up with The Great Julius Lockdown Challenge, a series of creative, physical, fun and mindful activities devised to reflect and foster the character attributes and strengths of the ideal College man.

“We thought it was important to retain a positive, fun link back to College and Julius House and to give bored boys something to do. But mostly it was an opportunity to teach the boys some important lessons about life, gratitude, kindness, and to build closer connections with their families,” says Mike.

With challenges ranging from arm wrestling, running, beep tests and push-ups, to de-cluttering and donating unwanted gear to charity, to creating a trick shot, recreating an old family photograph, cooking a family meal, enjoying a board game or doing a jigsaw, making a Mother’s Day treat, asking their parents about their feelings about lockdown, writing an email to a favourite teacher, and doing an act of kindness in their community, there were plenty of activities to choose from. While not compulsory, most boys chose to complete at least some of the challenges – and Mike was delighted to be inundated with the photographic or video evidence to prove it.

“The boys really got into the spirit of the challenge and did all sorts of things they otherwise wouldn’t have done. They did really, really well. The trick shots were epic, as were the recreated photographs. Kynan and Rheon Salt did a splendid job of recreating their parents’ wedding photo, and Hamish Falls-Anderson captured his father perfectly. The family meals looked amazing, and on Anzac Day Tommy McClean played the “Last Post” for his neighbourhood.”

Mike hopes the final challenge – 20 questions prompting them to reflect on their lockdown experience – is something the boys will one day look back on and appreciate as a snapshot of a unique time in their lives.

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Hamish Falls-Anderson's homemade sushi

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Kynan (L) and Rheon (R) Salt recreate their parent's wedding photo

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Gus Eglinton in the handstand challenge

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Lucas Maguire in the handstand challenge

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Robert McClean's Sunday roast lamb

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Hamish Falls-Anderson recreates a photo of his very young father