Julian Corso is a 13 year old from Yarrawonga who has scaled the heights of Mt Kosciusko, dug deep for the community and the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, discovered hidden tennis talents and a whole lot of patience. Julian achieved all this and more by doing his Compass Award as an Independent Participant – setting goals and challenges for himself and taking the lead in organising all his activities and journeys. Julian was recently presented with The Compass Award at the Shepparton Regional Award Ceremony. In a candid, funny and articulate speech, he shared his experiences with us.


Good morning distinguished guests, ladies and gentleman and fellow awardees.

My name is Julian Corso and I attend Sacred Heart College Yarrawonga. I have successfully completed the Compass Awards as an Independent.

It was a little daunting at first enrolling as an Independent. The main challenge as an Independent was finding suitably qualified people to access and verify my achievements. The help and support from the team at Awards Victoria was positive and inspiring. The Compass Awards gave me the opportunity to stretch myself both mentally and physically. The Compass Awards are designed for those aged between 10 to 14 and are divided into 4 categories.

The 1st was Physical Activity

One of the activities I chose was to improve my fitness while learning how to play tennis properly. I organized a tennis coach to access my skills and a qualified personal trainer to measure my fitness. I am proud to say that I was presented with a trophy from the Yarrawonga Lawn Tennis Club as the 2013 Junior Boys Aggregate Games Winner.

The 2nd Category was Skill

One goal I set and accomplished was to read music sheets, learn the guitar and progress to playing in public. Another goal was to learn chess and compete at an R.J Shields Chess Tournament. I came 2nd place in a tournament and 1st place in the Under 14 Category. I discovered that Chess can be very frustrating and annoying. However it is also very rewarding.

The 3rd Category was Volunteering

I decided to raise money for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation. The Foundation help care for a variety of people in the community. To better understand the community and culture of people needing care my Mother  took me to Melbourne where I met people less fortunate than myself sleeping on the streets. To accomplish my goals I helped neighbours, friends and parishioners by doing odds jobs. I decided to let people have the choice of donating if they wanted to or were financially able to, then I forwarded all of the funds to the foundation. I still continue to help others and I believe that we can all make a difference. I learnt that listening is just as important as speaking.

The 4th Category was Exploration

One challenge I set was to Hike to the Mt Kosciusko Summit in N.S.W. I needed to do a lot of physical preparation and research for this task. I contacted a Mt Kosciusko Park Ranger who I used later to verify my climb. I organised food, clothing, shelter and 1st Aid for my family. During the hike we tried to identify the different flora and fauna, the temperatures were colder than I anticipated but the views where amazing.

At one stage I thought I must have miscalculated the weight of my backpack. It felt extremely heavy. However as the team leader I was determined to keep smiling and keep my family motivated. Upon reaching the summit I felt an amazing amount of pride and a great sense of achievement. While standing on the rocks I also felt very proud of my 6 year old sister for hiking to the Summit. Then I noticed she was sitting down playing with toys. I asked her where they came from. She told me, “I put them in your backpack just before we left”.

At that very moment I realised another skill I had learnt: Patience.

Another Challenge I set was to Explore the Great Ocean Road. I navigated the whole trip.  Hiking in the Otway Rainforest to find a waterfall, climbing a lighthouse, finding an Anchor and completing the Otway fly treetop adventure. I learnt that there are only 8 Apostles left and if we lose one more it will become the 7 dwarfs.

The Compass Awards gave me the motivation and opportunity to challenge myself, increase my confidence, expand my knowledge and develop leadership skills. I learnt that with every obstacle life may have in store for me there is also an opportunity to succeed. I am now looking forward to setting new goals for the Duke of Edinbourgh Awards.

I would like to thank everyone who has helped me complete the Compass Awards as an Independent and the Awards Victoria team for making it possible. Thankyou.

Julian Corso

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