A weekend with Robogals

The Robogals Rural and Regional training weekend has come! And gone, like the wind!

I can remember taking photos of my furniture just before I left to list it for sale while I was away.. yeah, right. I didn’t even have time to think! Friday 8am through to Monday midnight was just one big Robogals blur!

Friday we ended up having a 5 hour wait at the airport after our plane had a fault and eventually got cancelled after an hour and a half of sitting on it while they tried to fix it. Everyone else was probably thinking ‘how ridiculous, they should have kicked us off straight away’ but I could totally relate it to what it’s like at work. You have some potential fixes up your sleeve, which could work instantly or could fail and leave everyone sitting there waiting.. but it’s still worth the try!! Eventually we got put onto a fancy qantas flight that got us in with just enough time to make it to a UNSW Robogals dinner only a little late. A teensy bit of planning in the hostel, before heading to bed.

I’d never stayed in a hostel before.. it was pretty uneventful but there were no power points in our room which was dumb, and it got awkward when someone from outside our group came home. He’d been living there for a few months though, so I guess he’d be used to people much worse than us! I guess you normally just wouldn’t go into your room until you’re ready to sleep, so that you don’t keep others up with your conversations.

We were up nice and early to do the grocery shopping, create powerpoints, organise the rooms and eventually register our guests! One arrived early so I bumped into her while she was checking in, and we had an easy chat for a while so I could tell that the weekend was going to be fun.

Saturday afternoon we heard from Marita about Robogals (well, not me because I was waiting for one of the late-comers) and from Effie, the Rural and Regional Robogal of the year last year on her experiences talking at schools. She went to 15 schools in one semester.. I was pretty impressed!! She emphasised the use of videos, role play (!), and anything interactive when speaking to children.. she even spoke to a year 4 class and a school with 5 students. She said that once she took her grandmother with her to a school so that she could see what she was up to, and halfway through her grandmother shouted out ‘that’s not something that girls should be doing!’ Oh, how times have changed…

We took the ferry to our site tour of the one and only Sydney Opera House..

Some interesting civil engineering stuff there.. Nah, seriously: someone studying IT said it was their favourite part of the weekend!

As for my favourite part.. that comes next.

Awww yeah, karaoke. A solid 3.5 hours of 80s voice-hurting. And bonding, of course.

Sunday was kick-started by a breakfast that I was pretty proud of (“you ARE ready to be a mum!”), followed by fun training things and, my favourite part of the day, a trip to Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie. His cookbook is literally the only one I use, so I was a bit excited!! I bought ‘some’ things but didn’t end up eating them straight away because stress kills my hunger a bit. We practiced our school presentations, then headed out to dinner. Little did I know that that was the last I’d see of my Zumbo stash (thanks cleaners).

Free champagne, cheap meals, and uno.. another great night, I’d say!! I couldn’t believe that things were playing out so well, but that’s what happens when you have such a great group of girls together!! We played games in the hostel until wayyy too late.. worth it!

Another awesome breakfast and then the girls were set to work in the Robogals Call Centre.. it was too cool to see everyone on the phone to schools at once – what a team!! Our second supporters’ luncheon for the year (which didn’t require any organising on my part this time!) involved backflipping robots, and then some networking for all with the industry reps. I met some ladies from Cosmos magazine that showed me the new iPad app aimed at teenagers – it was really incredible the way that they leveraged the technology to provide a maze-like discovery structure to the online magazine that I think will keep kids engaged with the content. I even had a quick amaze-session with one of the ladies over Will I Am’s involvement in STEM promotion, but that deserves a blog post all of its own!

The weekend ended with the others off at a board meeting while I met up with Paul and reclaimed what was mine….


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