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Written by Nina Zivkovic, Simon Richards and Emily Millard

In May a group of 20 Mantelorians from our hubs across Australia ventured West of Brisbane to Cooby Reflections on Cooby Dam. We dubbed the weekend “Camp Mantel”, the premise a throw back to the best parts of “School Camp”. We wanted an opportunity to escape from the city and enjoy the incredible beauty of regional Queensland. The weekend was an awesome chance for team members from all different Domains of Mantel Group to come together for some social activities and team bonding.

Our itinerary started with a lolly fuelled bus ride from our Brisbane hub in Fortitude Valley. The bus kick started the weekend with everyone curating a Camp Mantel Playlist (no common genres, no consistent artists – just good vibes and the team’s favourite tunes).

Upon arrival at Cooby Reflections we were greeted by lots of wallabies, our wonderful host and stunning views of the Cooby Dam. After room assignments, we enjoyed a Mexican feast followed by boardgames in the refurbished Loveday Barn.

Early risers started the day with a canoe on the lake or hike around the stunning property. The fog was thick but the silence and serenity was a great way to refresh the soul.

Then it was time to get fuelled up and ready for the day’s activities – The Cooby Quest! We divided into Pink and Blue teams (repping the Mantel colours) and began a series of tasks that required us to work together. The challenges included archery, hoisting a team member up a tower made from milk crates, and a challenge that was a throw back to Go,Go, Stop tv show days.

Pink Team had an early lead with some very enthusiastic team members encouraging the team to run between each activity. Whilst blue was taking a nice slow and steady pace to enjoy the scenery.

The final showdown was the “Slingshot” challenge. The objective was to build a large slingshot and use it to knock down targets from 25m away. The pink team were out in front, having mastered their roles within the group and acting as a cohesive force – they were sure they were going to get the “W”. Both teams spent what felt like hours (probably 45mins) taking shots at the targets. Blue team got into a great rhythm of firing balls which led to a nail biting finish. Blue team eventually took the crown!

Post Cooby Quest we enjoyed a campfire dinner from Brent. This included chicken wings, a cast iron skillet with brie, walnuts and quince paste, pumpkin, cauliflower, and the main course of spit roasted suckling pig, all beautifully cooked over the campfire. With our bellies full we made a massive bon fire and enjoyed our interpretation of smores while sharing stories and highlights from the day.

For our final morning we enjoyed exploring the vast Reflection property before we headed back on the bus.

Special shoutout to Aiden from our Data Domain and Keren from our Digital Domain who were “In It Together” when they helped to rescue a man who had capsized his canoe.

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