The 2011 series of the DEFENCE 2020 - Is the ADF a good role model for young Australians today? - concluded with the National Youth Participation Challenge in Canberra on 19th and 20th of October. Twenty-eight students (national winners of the Participation Task competition) spent two days in Canberra visiting the Australian Federal Police Training Village, the Australian War Memorial, the National Museum of Australia and the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

At the National Challenge, which was held at Old Parliament House, the students showcased their winning entries, role-played a scenario, presented a video of their experiences in Canberra and were addressed by Air Commodore Henrik Ehlers, Director General, Defence Force Recruiting.

The winners were then invited to make a special presentation to the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AM, CSC, RAN and his colleagues at Defence Headquarters – a real honor for all involved.

The National Challenge was a fantastic conclusion to an exciting program that educated young people about defence issues and encouraged them to think about what sort of Defence Force they would like Australia to have in the future.

Through their explorations students agreed that the ADF is a good role model, but as with all organisations, there can be lapses in behavior which need to be addressed.

The students profiled many role models such as war artist George Gittoes, nurses Betty Jeffrey and Vivian Bullwinkle, VC winners Mark Donaldson and Ben Roberts-Smith, seaman Teddy Sheehan, and members of their own families who have served their country.

We hope that Defence 2020 will be back in 2012 with a new theme, new resources and a national program that will be rolled out in all states and territories between March and June. Watch this space for details, updates, reports and curriculum resources for History, SOSE, English, Legal Studies, Civics and Citizenship and Geography.

The team at Ryebuck Media sincerely thanks all of the teachers, students and ADF personnel who have supported Defence 2020 in 2011.

We wish to especially pay tribute to Group Captain Ken Given who has been a wonderful leader of Defence 2020 over the last four years. His enthusiasm, encouragement, support and leadership have been exemplary, as has his obvious joy in working with young Australians. Good luck Ken.

Tim Gurry, Robert Lewis, Troy Mortier & Bernadette Lightfoot
Ryebuck Media
November 10, 2011