Leaders look, listen and learn in Lamington

School leaders enjoyed some me time in Lamington National Park

​SCHOOL leaders have an incredibly demanding job and are often so busy looking after their students and staff there is little time left to look after themselves.

A national survey of school principals published last year revealed the high burden on school leaders due to the emotional and physical demands of their role, leading to higher levels of stress and potential burnout.

The annual Principal Wellbeing Experience at O'Reilly's in Lamington National Park has been developed to give much needed support to our school leaders and provide them with an opportunity to pause, reflect and reconnect.

Held over three days in July, the retreat was facilitated by Gone Bush Adventures and this year featured guidance from Uncle Paul Callaghan, author of 'Iridescence: Finding Your Colours and Living Your Story'. 

Uncle Paul led an immersion into wellbeing and leadership through the lens of Aboriginal philosophy and spirituality.

The participants embraced the natural beauty of the environment with regular bush walks, which gave them a chance to reflect and connect more deeply while walking alongside their peers.

Aynslee Bale, Head of Campus at Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarborough, said the retreat was a powerful experience.

“This wellbeing program was intentionally crafted, enabling reflection in the stillness and silence of the bush, in movement and walking, and in connecting with others," Aynslee said.

“Paul challenged us to re-establish our connection with nature, to discover our truth and to work with intent, purpose and clarity about what is important to us."

Aynslee said there was a mix of walking; journaling and discussion with each other over the three days.

“Since the retreat many of us will regularly check in on each other to share wellbeing practises and keep each other accountable to our personal goals of wellness," Aynslee​ said.

“I highly recommend the retreat to all principals and am sincerely grateful to Brisbane Catholic Education for making this investment in our wellbeing and life journey."

John O'Dwyer, Senior Advisor People and Culture, said the care and wellbeing of school leaderships was a priority for Brisbane Catholic Education.

“Ultimately, if we care about the wellbeing of our principals then they will be more effective leaders in their schools," he said.

“This retreat experience is an important tool to support our school leaders' wellbeing and we intend to offer it again in 2022, as it has been really well received."

Click here to view the retreat video.

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