Trinity Leadership Challenge

The Trinity Leadership Challenge (TLC) began in 2011 with one student’s dream of following in the footsteps of many brave Australians along the Kokoda Trail.

Kokoda2011 4

History of the program

This student's vision of marching along the Kokoda Trail soon evolved in to a much larger and purposeful project for a group of 12 selected students. Under Resident Tutor, Nathan Jessup’s guidance, the challenged of hiking the Kokoda Trail was transformed in to a dynamic and life-changing leadership program; the Trinity Leadership Challenge (TLC).

The 2011 team piloted the program with great success, each student believing the opportunity strengthened them both physically and mentally. The program, which was generously supported by our benefactors, allowed participants to develop their leadership and interpersonal skills that will remain with them for life.

Today, the TLC is an annual opportunity for a team of Trinity residents to explore the multifaceted systems of leadership – interpersonal relations and personal reflections, raising funds to support the trip, community service, physical challenges and many other experiences during the nine month program, concluding at the end of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. It is a student-run initiative that relies on the dedication and hard work of the participants. 

A recent addition to the program has been a focus on community service. Team members are required to commit to at least one hour of community service a week with an organisation of their choice. The experience of volunteering provides an excellent opportunity for students to actively engage with the leadership skills they are learning through the TLC workshops.

Another integral part of the TLC is the fundraising effort required to support the nine-month program. Students work with Trinity College to raise money for their team's program, as well as for future teams, ensuring the program is sustainable and accessible for students of all financial backgrounds. 

The leadership program is set in the context of Australian wartime history, allowing students to engage with Australia’s past and reflect upon their own place in Australia’s present and future. 

DanCav'I participated in the 2011 Student Leadership Challenge because I had always dreamed of hiking the Kokoda Trail. During my school years I became enthralled with experiencing the outdoors and developed an appreciation for what it can teach young people about themselves, life and leadership. The Kokoda Trail held a special place in my mind in that it was the stage for some of the greatest shows of courage and resilience from Australians, many of whom were no older than myself.

When the idea of walking the Trail transformed into the inaugural Student Leadership Challenge, as facilitated by Resident Tutor, Nathan Jessup, I was overjoyed at having been given the opportunity to learn from such a wise role model. The lessons I learnt with Nathan over the eight week leadership course I reflect on daily. The Leadership Challenge was without a doubt my most memorable and rewarding experience at Trinity; I made friends, developed personally and discovered not only why we should be grateful to be Australian, but also to whom we should be thankful. This year I am working with the 2012 team to ensure the trip continues as a student-run initiative and that all current and future Trinity students have the opportunity to rise to the Challenge!' Daniel Cavanagh (TC 2010) and Leadership Challenge Coordinator

View images from the 2011 Kokoda trip

Leadership at Trinity

The TLC is one way in which the College seeks to foster the growth of its students, through developing the qualities of cooperation and leadership. In this way, the Challenge has three aims:

  1. Identify and apply individual leadership principles under physical and mental adversity.

  2. Develop an understanding and appreciation for the service component in leadership by engaging in ongoing community service.

  3. Gain awareness of, and respect for, the sacrifice made by young Australians of previous generations, as well as promote such awareness within the community.

Ultimately, the TLC hopes to strengthen the College community by producing students with the skills necessary to understand and collaborate effectively with their peers.

Who can participate?

The TLC is open to all Trinity resident students in second year and above. The application process involves a written application to the selection committee, followed by an interview. The selection committee is looking for a diverse group of students who display leadership potential and show great enthusiasm for the possibilities the challenge holds for them. Applications open for the 2013 program towards the end of the 2012 scholarly year.

How to support the Trinity Leadership Challenge

Your support would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested in supporting the TLC as a benefactor or in any other way, please contact the Trinity College Advancement Office. Donations to this program are tax deductible.

The Challenge 

Similarly to 2011, the program is split into two parts, the training and the expedition. The training regime is devised and led by Trinity Resident Tutor, Nathan Jessup – ironman runner and leadership expert.

The regime consists of two types of sessions: group workshops and physical challenges. Each group workshop explores a different aspect of leadership, building on each member’s understanding and introducing new perspectives. The physical challenges are designed to be a benchmark to measure the fitness of each member in preparation for hiking the steep hills of Papua New Guinea. Members maintain their fitness by training in groups of three, keeping members accountable while still allowing for flexibility.

Meet the 2013 Team

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Cale Dobrosak

Andrew 206x140

Andrew Gunn

Imogen 206x140

Imogen Smith-Waters

Elle 206x140

Eleanora Steiner

Tom 206x140

Tom Szoka

Laura 206x140

Laura Ward

Ruaridh 206x140

Ruaridh Williamson

Alyce 206x140

Alyce Wilson

David 206x140

David Youl