The bus driver that was bringing the last batch of participants to the Warrior Training 2 – 6 March 2016 eventually answered his mobile phone –he was so relieved to be in cell phone range, he had no clue where he was, and his mobile phone’s battery was nearly flat. No problem though, contact was made with the participants on his bus and they were able to be directed in to Matroosberg. They had been “wandering the countryside” for over an hour trying to find the venue. However, the welcome they received from the Team and participants on their late arrival replaced any frustration and tiredness that may have been there.
This marked the start of the March 2016 Warrior Training which took place at Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve near Ceres. A total of 21 participants arrived: 5 participants from the Namibian Defence Force Chaplaincy department, 3 participants from the Swaziland Police force Chaplaincy (Chief Chaplain and 2 Chaplains), 7 participants from the SANDF (Navy), 1 participant from Correctional Services and 5 Civilians (2 from Gauteng and 3 from Western Cape).
The participants (Warriors) were divided into 4 groups and each group was allocated a mentor from the Warrior Training Leaders and support team. (See Issue 2 which explains mentor training) The mentors were the first line of contact for the participants and would observe and facilitate their group during the training.
The cabins at Matroosberg where comfortable accommodating a maximum of 10 for ladies, so with 12 females 2 cabins were used and the remaining 9 men where accommodated in the 12 bunk cabin. Participants were required to bring their own bedding and everyone settled in very quickly. The mentors had their own cabin.
Food was ample and well prepared by the staff at Matroosberg; after all, it is the most important part of the course right? After breakfast on the first day the Group photo was taken for which all the participants were beautifully dressed.
The mornings saw the participants in the classroom being given the theory on Biblical based ethical leadership, equipping them with a variety of skills needed for effective leadership such as introspection; effective communication; small group facilitation; problem solving; value based decision making and team leadership.
The afternoons were totally different – making this course different from other leadership courses, as it took the participants from theory to experiential training – what they were presented with in the morning, they put into practice in the afternoons. These experiential exercises were facilitated by Venture Forth Adventures, who were contracted in for this purpose. As the weather permitted, most of the exercises were done outdoors, but in the evenings and with bad weather they were done indoors. The dress code changed drastically after the group photo on the morning of the first day. One participant had to borrow casual clothes from another participant as his suits did not wear too well during the water activities.
On the team leadership training, the groups were given various projects to do. With each new project a new leader of the group was appointed. These projects were presented to the bigger group which also gave the participants the experience of public speaking.
During the course participants were exposed to the ministries that The Joshua Trust partners with. These were Alpha SA, Precept Ministries, Christian Police Association of South Africa, Pointman Leadership Institute and the South African Military Christian Fellowship. Representatives from these partner ministries drove all the way from Cape Town and endured the intense heat (36 – 40 degrees Centigrade at the time) to give a presentation to the group. They were invited for lunch which gave them time to communicate individually with the participants.
On the Saturday afternoon the group was given a surprise facilitated exercise which saw one part of the group participate in a very unusual experience of tree climbing. Unfortunately it started raining and the raft building exercise for the rest of the group on the dam was cancelled (lol raft building was not a dry sport). The afternoon was completed with some archery lessons in between downpours and then hot showers and food, before the evening sessions.
Due to miscommunication the Namibians return flights were booked one day too early necessitating them to depart on the Saturday evening in order for them to fly on the Sunday morning. The Namibians lost out on the last day of the course as the course only ended at 16h00 on the Sunday. On the Saturday evening just before their departure, the Namibians were presented with their certificates and as a penalty for deserting the group before closing, the Namibians were commissioned to entertain the group with a song. This went very well and they were then supposed to slip quietly out when their transport arrived to take them to the airport. ‘Quietly’ did not happen as the group had built up such camaraderie that the entire group had to see the Namibians onto their transport and the evening talk was delayed by nearly an hour.
Sunday came and time was short. After the final talks and presentations by the groups, certificates were presented and everybody was thanked for their participation. The busses had found their way back easily and were waiting to load and depart. The feedback received from the participants about the course was positive and uplifting, and some of their written accounts of their experience of Warrior Training can be read on the website under “Success Stories”. The Warrior Training Leaders and support team would like to thank them for being such wonderful participants and wish them strength, courage and boldness as they continue on the journey in leadership.
The next Warrior Training course (13 to 17 July 2016) will be held back at Wortelgat where it originated from.