Posted on 30/05/2023
High school can be a daunting time in the lives of young people with peer expectations and rapidly changing perceptions of acceptance and approval causing many teenagers to withdraw in the face of challenges. While those that take on student leadership positions, accepting responsibility for peer representation, may also find themselves balancing the opportunity a leadership role can bring, with avoiding unwanted attention to themselves.
Social and emotional pressures can diminish the positive outcomes our young students might achieve – unless there are suitable supports in place.
Feeling supported actually supports student wellbeing. That’s why we developed the G.R.I.T program. Utilising a simple yet powerful pattern of challenge and review, that challenges and empowers students to participate in a series of complex activities utilising reflective practice, G.R.I.T encourages a mindset of resilience and growth in participants.
“GRIT has helped me have more of a voice in leadership.” - Student leader participant.
The G.R.I.T program at Kent St SHS (KSSHS) helped establish growth within its student leadership team. YouthCARE Chaplain Sean O’Dea partnered with the KSSHS Student Council Officer to deliver our G.R.I.T program to its cohort of student leaders.
As a large high school with 32 student leaders across five-year levels, the school wanted to address division forming across year groups due to decreased interaction. This kind of division can affect confidence and the ability of student leaders to encourage unity and cooperation on projects that the student body had committed to delivering.
Our chaplain, Sean, delivered the program as an intensive session during the school’s Student Leadership Camp. The results of the program became clear immediately. The students engaged each other, with firm friendships being formed across year groups during the activities.
“GRIT for me, as a new Student Councillor, really gave me a chance to learn everyone’s name and to bond with people in different year groups through different team activities. I now feel more confident to talk to people and I think I have become a better leader for my year group,” said one of the students regarding their experience.
Upon returning to school, the students were more effective in providing greater support to their peers. They generated plans for new projects and recommitted to the challenge of leading their fellow students in participation in whole school activities.
Many of the leaders provided positive feedback to the school after completing the G.R.I.T program.
“ I am better at working as a team and I am more confident to step up and lead. A nice memory was, I made new friends.”
“I think more and more about the people around me and how my actions affect them. I’m more willing to listen and am more patient.”
“I have gained a lot more confidence since the camp and it has applied to everything I do.”
“I think more positively and inclusively as a team! Also have thought more strategically and problem-solving(ly). I have acted better as a team and more cooperatively.”
Would you like to run the G.R.I.T program in your school or organisation? The program kit is available for purchase with specialised facilitator training.
For further information on the program and how to become a facilitator, visit www.youthcare.org.au/grit or chat to us today.
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