Mark McConville is telling a yarn. He’s pretty good at telling yarns, he does it for a job. There’s more to his stories than meets the eye (or ear) however. The stand-up comedian also has a Masters degree in Suicidology and researches the impact of laughter on mental health and depression.
He’s fronting an unusual crowd at the Southern Cross University Gold Coast campus – nearly 100 senior high school students from the Tweed and Byron shires, who are learning how to use humour as a management tool. It’s just one of the many surprises of Base Camp, the brainchild of Southern Cross alumnus Bec Hogan.
BASE youth leadership is a program she developed to foster leadership skills in young people on the cusp of finishing high school. After many years as an educator, Bec said she was provoked to action by the challenges she saw facing young people in our hyper-connected world. “I think people need to be connected to other people, not only to promote themselves in a business sense, but also in a meaningful way. I want to encourage young people to be socially conscious leaders,” she said.
The BASE program is centred on an awards program and leadership training. Program participants are invited to attend Base Camp, where they learn about everything from handshakes and first impressions, social etiquette and self-care, to curating a digital profile and applying to university.
Wilson from Lindisfarne Anglican School said he was surprised to learn people form an impression within the first four minutes of meeting you. “It really taught me about the importance of body language when going to job interviews or meeting people for the first time,” he said, adding that “leadership is one of the most important roles you can have in life. It’s about lifting people around you up, and being a good role model for people who look up to you.”
Fellow participant Lilly from Byron Steiner School said BASE had inspired her and taught her a lot about members of her own community. “Bec has a big focus on being a socially conscious leader. Learning to make genuine connections and collaborate with others has been a great opportunity. I think a lot of the ability to be a good leader is inside you but you can learn skills to amplify that and make it better,” she said.
Base leadership program is proudly supported by Southern Cross University.
Media contact: Lee Adendorff firstname.lastname@example.org