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Transition, change and uncertainty – this is the world we live in and judging by the recent drought, bush fires, and the COVID-19 crisis, there are no signs that we will be changing direction any time soon.

Successfully navigating life in the 21st century requires a willingness to embrace change and adapt to new situations. To do this, boys need the confidence, emotional intelligence, knowledge and skills to be able to handle this ever-changing landscape.

“Change is the only constant in life. One’s ability to adapt to those changes will determine your success in life.” Benjamin Franklin

Develop security and trust

Experiential education, a key pillar of our strategic intent, lends itself well to teaching adaptability to boys as it builds confidence and experience in real world settings. Within the Scots boarding community, and in particular at our Year 9 residential campus, Glengarry, we try to teach boys to be adaptable.

Through a consistent and intentional approach, it is important to offer boys challenging, confidence building experiences in a managed and mentored environment – that builds trust in stages. It is vital to pitch learning experiences at whatever stage the boys are at otherwise you risk shaking their confidence without building trust.

By developing security and trust consistently, boys will develop the confidence needed to face future risk, and indeed become more adaptable.

Parents can start doing this from a young age by structuring activities to have an element of exploration and risk taking. Over time, boys will develop a sense of self-assurance and become more secure in transitions and unexpected change.

“The Scots experience, specifically boarding and Glengarry, has helped develop a sense of true comradery within me, and an ability to live in a society of boys from diverse backgrounds. The activities at Glengarry, which breached everyone’s comfort thresholds, is what drove us to rely on each other and overcome the challenges ahead.” Arthur Taylor, Year 10, Wellington NSW

Build experience, shared risk and enthusiasm

Once boys are more secure in their ability to handle the unexpected, they can be challenged further with shared risk taking. With structured group learning experiences, boys will feel safer to share in the risk taking and learn from their peers.

Another benefit of shared risk taking is the concept of safety in numbers – boys will feel more assured with their friends or siblings sharing the experience with them. Working with others will also fuel their enthusiasm for taking risks and embracing change.

“We’ve forged trust and strong bonds over our years together, and the boarding environment has also given us the opportunity to learn what motivates us and where our strengths are. I think most of us have had challenges and bumps in the road, but the boys and the staff are always there; it is a really supportive community. Boarding at Scots and the two terms we have at Glengarry really unite everyone, and are something I’m very proud to be a part of.” Hamish Todd, Year 12 Head Prefect, Forbes NSW

Overcome challenges in real world settings

At this stage, boys have sufficiently developed the skills and self-knowledge to know their limits and capabilities. Now that they are equipped with the confidence, experience, enthusiasm and skills, you will find them more willing to embrace challenges head on.

In fact, boys can truly excel in the face of adversity if they have the past experience of successfully navigating the unknown.

Boys need to be equipped with the right tools over time to become adaptable and embrace risk taking. Approached consistently and in the right way will ensure that boys have the best chance of success in our constantly changing world.

Shared experiences of the recent challenges of drought, bushfires and COVID-19 has allowed members of our boarding community to support each other and most importantly flourish during these uncertain times.

To find out more about The Scots College boarding education and our unique Year 9 Glengarry experience, download our Boarding Prospectus.

For any boarding related questions, please contact our Director of Boarding, Mr Kevin Brennan on [email protected].

The Scots College is a proud member of the following associations.

The Presbyterian Church (New South Wales) Property Trust T/A The Scots College, Sydney Australia
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William Elder


Mr Alan Elder was born in Scotland and migrated to Australia with his parents at a young age. He attended The Scots College for all his schooling, graduating in 1944. He played 1st XI Cricket and was a member of the College Cadet Unit. After leaving school Mr Elder studied accountancy and retained a life-long love of the College, especially the Pipes and Drums. Mr Elder never married, however the significant bequest he left will allow his Scots family to remember him through the Lang Walker Business Centre.