Round Square International Conference 2021
On Sunday 19 September, six delegates and three baraza leaders accompanied by Mrs Hanly, arrived at Malibu Country Lodge in Kameeldrift to attend this year’s Round Square International Conference: Blue Skies and Brave Conversations.
Our arrival was blessed by blue skies and startling azure peacocks who heralded us into the lodge and gave us a welcome display of their stunning plumage. Four other Gauteng schools soon arrived: our own Boys’ College delegation, Roedean, St Andrew’s School for Girls and Dainfern. The conference proper began online after an early morning boot-camp. Keynote speakers from across the globe spoke about identity and inclusion in a virtual conference hall. From there, delegates were transferred into breakout rooms where they met up with students from other Round Square schools to discuss the topic. Once the formalities were concluded everyone was invited to experience the virtual conference park which included a main stage, cinema, yoga pagoda, selfie and graffiti walls, speaker’s corner and other exciting events and activities. The “feel” of this virtual world was very Super-Mario (for those who are familiar with it).
Our afternoon activities focused on adventure, service and the environment. Students had to use their teamwork and problem-solving skills to clear, design and build a paintball arena in some overgrown scrubland. Their efforts culminated in some epic matches! Camp clean-ups were also necessary to help ensure that the wildlife on site were not harmed by litter and other refuse.
The evenings were most entertaining with courageous “picnic blanket” conversations, feedback sessions, body percussion, games and lots of good food, music and dancing. For me, as one of the facilitation team, the biggest joy was to see our students interacting so confidently with each other, having meaningful conversations about significant issues, being brave enough to be vulnerable, strong enough to support others, and inquisitive about everything and everyone at the camp and on the conference.
RSIC 2021 will be a conference to remember and, as the world gradually open up again, hopefully the start of many more quality interactions and events.