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Altitude Day 2021 | From the yTeam, written by Sarah Hodge

By June 10, 2021June 11th, 2021Event, Schools, Team

Over the course of the 2021 Altitude Day Roadshow, yLead was lucky enough to meet 1,300 young people over 10 days, in 10 different locations across the country. Our journey this year began in Townsville before continuing on to: the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Perth, Adelaide, Playford, Canberra and finally wrapping up in Sydney. Our thoughts go out to those of you in Melbourne who were in lockdown at this time, unfortunately meaning that our 2021 Melbourne Altitude Day was postponed.

What is Altitude Day? Thank you – I’m glad you asked. Altitude Day is an event designed for year 9 students run over a two-week period in 11 different locations around Australia every year. In 2021, Altitude Day was an event like no other – after the year that was 2020 and not being face-to-face, getting students back into an environment such as the one created at Altitude Day was more important now than ever. Providing a space within which students can network with not only students from their own school, but students from different schools, is truly invaluable.

We had the privilege of being joined by 23 different guest speakers around Australia this year, each offering their own stories of resilience, passion and growth to inspire the hundreds of year 9 students in their presence. It was an incredible opportunity for students to hear from members of their community, as well as from individuals from further afield.

Students were lucky enough to hear from some amazing young people not much older than themselves who are actively taking steps to make their world a better place:

Angelique Hallet (SC) – Founder of Loving Hope Bears and Year 12 student

Bella Burgmeister (WA)  – 15 Year Old Climate Activist and Author

We also had the privilege to be joined by individuals who were leaning into their passions and their stories to create changes in their world:

Alex Wells (GC) – Founder of Gold Coast Inclusive Sports

Mikhara Ramsing (BNE) – Social Entrepreneur, Founder of Miks Chai & Ethnic LGBT+

Isaiah Dawe (SYD) – Founder of ID. Know Yourself

Our full list of incredible speakers!…

TVL: Connor McKay – The Physio Movement | TVL: Leigh Caldwell – Happy Feat | SC: Angelique Hallett – Loving Hope Bears | SC: Krushnadevisnh Ravalji – Youth & Diversity Advocate | BNE: Jacqui Bell – Ultra Marathon Runner | BNE: Mikhara Ramsing – Mik’s Chai | GC: Jim Chapman & Andy Bentley – Nice Coffee Co. | GC: Alex Wells – Gold Coast Inclusive Sports | TBA: Patrick Onek – Refugee | TBA: Justin Palazzo-Orr – Happy Paws, Happy Hearts | PER: Bella Burgmeister – Climate Activist & Author | PER: Tara Lord – Kupu Kupu | PER: Brant Garvey – Paratriathlete | PLAY: Kbora Ali – First Afghan woman in Australian Army | PLAY & ADL: Gene Phoa – Musician | ADL: Sarah Freeman – Kids Arthritis | CAN: Manik Mahajan – Reposit Power | CAN: Tara McClelland – 2021 ACT Young Australian of the Year | SYD: Cindy Tan – Social Changemaker & Growth Marketer | SYD: Isaiah Dawe – ID. Know Yourself | ALL (except Perth & Canberra): Ben Pettingill – Limitless Vision

It is also with immense gratitude that we acknowledge the extraordinary Ben Pettingill!

Ben joined us across all locations except Perth and Canberra, spreading his story of resilience and Limitless Vision. Ben has joined us at numerous events over the last few years, continuing to empower and inspire the next generation of young people. We are eternally grateful to have the opportunity to work with him time and time again.

Altitude Day is not just an impactful day for the students who get to be in the space, it is also hugely significant for all of our yTeam, our community of volunteers, who join us and support us on the day as well. As a yTeamer myself, I can say that these days have a profound impact on me… but don’t just take my word for it. Over the two weeks, we were joined by 40 volunteers, who gave up their time to be with us in their space, and some of their highlights are below.


“Altitude Day 2021 was filled with the most incredible energy fuelled by the most inspiring Year 9s, speakers and yTeam! A highlight of mine would be speaking to the students at the beginning of the day, all apprehensive about what they are about to experience. However through the magic that yLead facilitates, these students now leave the space with a seed planted within, and the tools to take on their big dreams. Although we may never see this seed bloom, we can be sure that what they take from the experience will equip them with the confidence and courage within to become change makers of the future.”

Jessica Faulks (SC, BNE, GC)

“One of my favourite moments at Sydney Altitude Day was connecting with some of the girls from Brigidine St Ives that were there! A few of them were super confident and backed themselves, and others just grew in confidence throughout the day and it was really, really great to see. I also loved listening and learning from the speakers – man there are some inspiring people in our world!”

Caitlin Oschadleus (SYD)

“Altitude day in WA focused on skills of hope, resilience, understanding, courage and teamwork. Altitude day was an experience I am privileged to have had. I loved being a part of yLead’s magic in enabling students to discover their potential and ‘focus on their controllables’ – Brant Garvey.”

Bridget Muir (WA)

“It is always amazing to come back to Altitude Day and watch so many students become inspired by what is in front of them. My highlight was listening to Ben speak and watching the students immerse themselves, hanging on to every word that came out of his mouth. You could see the inspiration, the fire that was lit under these students as they heard him describe his story in his unique way. It always sends chills up my spine to be surrounded by him and to see him open the students eyes to Limitless Vision.”

Luke Jobson (SYD)

“My Altitude Day highlight was seeing the stark comparison between the first and final ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ dance. Seeing the difference in the students confidence completely transform after they had been exposed to the awesome learnings of the day was so heart-warming to see!”

Hannah Janetzki (GC)

“For me, observing the students engagement with each other and the yTeam was one thing, but to actually feel the warmth and empowerment that radiated through the room was something so special, a feeling that could only be created at Altitude Day”

Sophie Le (SYD)

“My highlight for Altitude Day would have to be listening to the guest speakers. It was so heartwarming to see all the student so intrigued and genuinely taking in the stories that the speakers had. It was amazing to see the students learning so much, so quickly and taking away valuable life lessons.” 
Billy Brennan (SC)

“Altitude Day 2021 was my first time in the blue as a volunteer and it was an incredible experience that I’m forever grateful for. It allowed me to connect with many unique, young individuals from all different walks in life.  The positive energy of everyone encouraging one another and growing as individuals  created throughout the day really amazed and inspired me.  The guest speakers were incredibly relatable and their vulnerability to share their personal stories was really empowering and helped me to put things into perspective.”

Ashleigh Bamford (SYD)

A MASSIVE THANK YOU to all out yTeam that joined us across the two weeks, we could not do what we do without YOU!!

Not only was Altitude Day significant for our yTeam in the blue, this year was super exciting as we were joined by a couple of members of our yTeam community out of the blue.

In the Sunshine Coast, we were lucky enough to be joined by the INCREDIBLE Krushnadevsinh (Kano) Ravalji who joined us for the first time as a guest speaker. Kano shared with us his empowering story of overcoming adversity, passion and drive – an incredible story for students to hear, but also very special for the team to see one of their own up on stage, owning themselves, their story and their why.

Fast forward to Brisbane Altitude Day where we were joined by another member of the yTeam out of the blue… Mr Alex Barnes! For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Alex is a veteran Brisbane yTeamer and joined us this year as a teacher, supervising students from his school as he undertakes his first year as a high school teacher! It was such a special moment to see Mr Barnes out in full force and owning his new role!


Finally, it would be truly amiss if I didn’t thank the tireless hours of hard work that the team at HQ have put in to make this event a reality. Massive shout out to Izzy, Mitch, Zoe and Joe who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes in the office to get this year’s roadshow up and running. And of course, to Lucy, Amy, George, Cealè and Bel for their work in creating the content and bringing the best of themselves each and every day to create this incredible experience for each and every person in the space. On behalf of the hundreds of people who you have positively impacted over the last two weeks, THANK YOU!!

As we wind down from the last two weeks, I’m overwhelmed with insight, perspective, and knowledge that I have gained from students, speakers and the team alike, but if Altitude Day 2021 has taught us anything, it is to dream. Dream big, dream boldly, dream beautifully; and have the courage to do so!

-Sarah Hodge, Brisbane yTeamer