On the borderline: I CAN Ovens & Murray
Back in May last year, we began work on establishing a branch of I CAN Network in Albury-Wodonga, twin cities straddling both the Murray River and the border of Victoria and New South Wales.
A lot has happened since then, so we thought we’d do an update on how things at this branch (christened “I CAN Ovens & Murray”) have progressed in the last year and a half.
And so, here’s the regional manager of this branch, Kate Moon, with a rundown of how it’s all been going so far. Enjoy!
Max Williams, Editor
Hello from I CAN Ovens & Murray!
2016 was a momentous year for our community. St Augustine’s Primary School began a partnership with I CAN Network and the seeds for I CAN Ovens & Murray were planted. Having been a local girl my entire life, nothing excites me more than our own regional branch of I CAN. What an opportunity!
It is with pleasure that I report on the developments within our region for the year 2017, another piece of the puzzle in the tremendous impact I CAN Network is having across Australia. I am truly humbled and incredibly grateful to be a part of this rethink and to share life with many awesome individuals on the autism spectrum. You guys rock!
During the early parts of the year Kyleigh Andrews and I worked to set down the foundations for Ovens and Murray. Camilla Birthisel was appointed as our first Ovens & Murray mentor and she has really SHONE! Camilla is a true reflection of the I CAN message and her alignment with the vision of I CAN Ovens & Murray is just phenomenal. It is an absolute privilege to share life with Camilla. Big thanks to Kyleigh Andrews for recruiting her.
Kyleigh and I were fortunate to attend a regional training day hosted by Kate Andrews and the Kyabram crew. Meeting more of the I CAN team was a definite highlight. These people inspire us as we continue on our journey. We were also extremely fortunate to attend the May I CAN Network Camp, at Malmsbury. Here we met some amazing individuals who really touched our hearts! I had heard a fair bit about these camps and how incredible they really were, but nothing compares to the first-hand experience… So many “take away” moments from that one weekend. What a great experience!
On the 30th July, the first I CAN Ovens and Murray program was launched with an Imagination Club at St Augustine’s Primary School, Wodonga. Over 7 sessions, fifteen Grade 3/4 students developed their skills, confidence, and teamwork, and focussed on personal motivations and strengths, saying “I CAN”, communication, planning, organisation and innovation.
They presented “Cam the Chameleon Day” on Friday 3rd November, as a focus project to expose the greatness in diversity. It was a celebration, but also an opportunity for these students to directly impact their wider school community, promoting a culture of inclusion. Camilla and I felt extremely privileged to have had this time with the students and watch each of them flourish in their own unique ways. We have also been very blessed to have the support of Principal Joe Quinn, Learning Diversity Leader Luci Palmer, and the wonderful St Augustine’s teachers as we embarked on our journey. We look forward to partnering with St Augustine’s in 2018.
At the beginning of Term 4, Ovens & Murray began a partnership with the wonderful St Monica’s Primary in Wodonga. They have embraced everything I CAN and it has been a pleasure to deliver a parent/community evening, whole school student sessions, professional development workshops, and four Imagination Club Sessions. Big thanks to Chris Varney for his inspiring, thought provoking presentations and his commitment to clocking up the kilometres travelling to regional areas. We are very lucky!
One thing that I CAN Ovens & Murray have been extremely fortunate with is that community support has been strong. We have made some firm connections with families, teachers and schools. We are very grateful for the support and we have met some remarkable individuals. These people are important to us and we will continue to nurture these relationships in 2018. With a number of opportunities and new schools on the horizon we can’t wait to see what 2018 holds for I CAN Ovens & Murray and the whole of I CAN Network.
Thank you for so warmly welcoming us on board the “rethink.” May you all have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
Kate Moon, Regional Manager