Earlier in October 20 young men and two staff ventured down to Doon Doon, New South Wales to partake in the annual 1st XV Rugby Leadership Camp. Alumni, Daniel Stoten and his fiancé Tiana Dustow kindly opened up their 200 acre property to allow the camp to go ahead.

The young men were treated to an absolute feast of activity and food over the course of the two-day camp.

The Saturday morning comprised of a two-hour training session on Wyangan Field before loading up the School Bus and taking the 90 minute trip down the motorway to the Stoten Farm, located at the foot of Mount Warning. Upon arrival the boys were immediately supplied with a protein rich BBQ lunch, with enough food to satisfy even the most ravenous teenage male. After lunch, the team split into four groups with the task to brainstorm the core values that next year’s 1st XV Rugby team would like to be known for. Later that evening, after numerous games comprising a rugby ball were played on the vast lawn area, the team was ushered down to the man cave of a shed located 400 odd metres from the farmhouse. Here the team were treated to an inspiring speech on the history of Somerset College and its Rugby heritage. I for one have heard several variations of this speech over the past seven years and it never fails to get the hairs to stand up on the back of my neck-simply outstanding!

After the history lesson, Mr Attoe and I were asked to leave the building to return to the farmhouse. Several minutes later, the local Doon Doon community and cattle were roused with the sound of 20 young men belting out the Somerset Rugby War Cry which echoed through the valley. Cue more goosebumps! That evening the team was treated to burritos with all sorts of accompaniments before turning in for the night on the expansive farmhouse decking.

At the crack of dawn the next morning Mr Attoe drove the school bus around to where the boys all lay in deep slumber, probably dreaming about what breakfast lay ahead of them for that morning. Cue the bus horn which had most of the lads react in stupor, except for the College’s very own military man, Jack Hellier (more commonly known by his nickname, ‘Hell Yeah’) who sat bolt upright and screamed ‘Up, Up, Up, get your socks it’s time to rock’. Within two minutes, the team was on their way by bus to an unknown location. The easy part of the camp was well and truly over as the team embarked on a gruelling fitness session for the next 90 minutes, which would see them forge a close-knit bond as they encouraged and helped each other through the physical challenges. Needless to say, most of that morning’s breakfast was consumed wholeheartedly, post session. Before departing back to Somerset College and our final training session the team spent a quality one to two hours coming up with various positive behaviour actions that they pledge to be better at during the course of the remaining time they have left in the Somerset Rugby Jersey.

My thanks to Mr Attoe and Mr Daniel Stoten for their unwavering commitment to all things Rugby and more importantly their passion at moulding young boys into quality young men. Thanks also to Tiana and her sidekick Courtney Stoten for their catering efforts. Feeding 20 teenage boys over the course of two-days is not for the faint of heart. 2019’s camp was an undoubted success and if the team’s work ethic and words during these two days are anything to go by, we are in for one heck of a season in 2020!

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