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Country to Canberra was founded by our Executive Director, Hannah Wandel. Hannah loved growing up in rural South Australia but also noticed unique gender and geographical barriers that face female rural students.

Hannah’s vision was to create a youth-led, non-profit organisation that empowers rural girls to reach their leadership potential. After winning a Great Ydeas grant in 2014, Hannah founded Country to Canberra to ensure young country women are afforded equal opportunities, can connect with mentors and can achieve their dreams.

To learn more about Hannah, check out her bio on the website.

Statistics show women still earn 18.8% less than men in Australia, and women often are outnumbered in leadership positions. Pairing that with other issues (including unconscious bias and workplace inequalities) Country to Canberra focuses on girls in a bid to tackle gender inequality.

Country to Canberra is a youth-led, volunteer-based organisation. We are funded by grants and contributions from the wider community.

So far, we’ve been grateful to receive funding support from the South Australian Government, the National Rural Women’s Coalition YWCA Canberra and the Layne Beachley Aim for the Stars Foundation.

Funding girls to travel from rural and remote Australia to Canberra can be incredibly expensive. Therefore, we are always looking for more support to help deliver empowering opportunities to our future female leaders. If you would like to contribute (or know someone who might be able to help) please email contact@countrytocanberra.com.au

Amazing! Country to Canberra is a volunteer-based organisation, and we’re always looking for more people to help out. Currently, we have 4 volunteers plus 5 blogger volunteers.

If you’d like to help out, email contact@countrytocanberra.com.au and we’d be happy to get back to you.

Absolutely! We’re always looking for more young women in regional, rural and remote Australia to contribute to our site and spread their amazing ideas.

Check out our ‘Opportunities’ page on our website and send an email to contact@countrytocanberra.com.au to enquire about joining our awesome blogger team.

Yes! We don’t restrict the age of people that join our blogger team. We accept girls above 12 years old and are even keen for young women, below 30, to contribute.

If you’re a rural girl or woman or have interests in rural affairs, email contact@countrytocanberra.com.au to enquire about joining our awesome team.

The 2015 essay competition opens on 21 July 2015 and closes at 11pm Australian Eastern Standard Tim on 10 September 2015.

Entrants whose school is more than 50 kilometres away from a city that has a population of over 50,000 residents will be eligible.

For example, if your school is only 40 kilometres away from Newcastle (NSW), which has a population of over 500,000, you are ineligible. If your school is in Broome (WA), which has a population of 13,000 and is more than 50 kilometres away from a city of 50,000 people, then you are eligible to enter.

Contact us if you’re still unsure. We’re here to help!

Only Year 10 and 11 students in Australia can enter the competition. However, if you are currently in Year 9 or below, you can always enter in future years!

You can also apply to write for Country to Canberra’s amazing blog. Find more info about this awesome opportunity through the ‘Opportunities’ tab on our website.

In 2015, Country to Canberra is selecting at least one winner from each state and territory bar the ACT!

Try to stick to 500 words or less! Entrants who go over 500 words may be disqualified, so do your best to keep it short, sharp and shiny.

You can be as creative as you’d like! Although it’s called an ‘essay competition’, we really want to hear your views and ideas! Feel free to structure your entry in a way that suits you, which could be a story, poem, essay or blog post. However, make sure you keep our marking criteria in mind.

Download the ‘template’ from our ‘Enter the Competition’ page on our website: http://countrytocanberra.com.au/enter-the-competition/

Once your entry is compete, email it to contact@countrytocanberra.com.au

Just one entry is permitted per person.

Country to Canberra is using a set marking criteria to assess the 2015 essay competition submissions. You can find it on our ‘Marking Criteria and Selection Process 2015’ Page on the website: http://countrytocanberra.com.au/enter-the-competition/marking-rubric/

You can also download a word version of the criteria.

In terms of selection, Country to Canberra representatives will assess all the entries and create a shortlist using the marking criteria.

The shortlisted entries will then be given to a panel to select the final winners, who will also use the criteria below. One winner will be selected from each state and territory plus another 8 finalists (the Top 15).

The winners score an all-expenses paid ‘Power Trip’ to Canberra to connect with high profile female leaders and meet motivational mentors. They also win ongoing online mentorship sessions with university students to take their leadership skills to the next level. Plus, the winners will have their essays published online to showcase their writing skills on a national scale.

The 2015 Power Trip will consist of 2 nights in Canberra with all the other winners from around Australia. Girls will attend the ‘Powerful Women’s Breakfast’, an evening with Senators, spend time with their university mentor, attend a behind-the-scenes tour of Parliament House, tour the War Memorial, be interviewed by national media outlets and undertake leadership training.

In 2014, the winners were connected with dozens of politicians and executives at exclusive events around Canberra. They met leaders including Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Minister Fiona Nash, Senator Anne Ruston, Senator Jan McLucas, Senator Lee Rhiannon, Minister Barnaby Joyce, Shadow Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, and connected with the following women at the 2014 ‘Powerful Women’s Breakfast’:

– Then-ACT Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher MLA
– Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann MP
– The most senior female executive at the Department of Defence, Deputy Secretary Rebecca Skinner, and
– Deputy Australian Pubic Service Commissioner, Stephanie Foster.

The Top 15 Finalists will have their essays published online to showcase their writing skills to a national audience! In 2014, our Top 15 essays were read by hundreds of people, creating an amazing resume booster for young women.

In 2015, our Top 15 will be selected using our marking criteria and selection process, which can be found on our website here: http://countrytocanberra.com.au/enter-the-competition/marking-rubric/

Sure is! The Top 15 Finalists will have their essays published online to showcase their writing skills to a national audience. In 2014, our Top 15 essays were read by hundreds of people, creating an amazing resume booster for young women.

In 2015, our Top 15 Finalists will be selected using our marking criteria and selection process, which can be found on our website here: http://countrytocanberra.com.au/enter-the-competition/marking-rubric/

If you don’t crack into the Top 15, don’t stress, you can always enquire about joining our awesome Blogger Team. Check out our ‘Opportunities’ and ‘Blogger Team’ pages on the website for more details.

You’ll find out by the start of October 2015.

Country to Canberra will purchase return flights on your behalf! Flights will depart from the closest or most convenient local airport and arrive at Canberra International Airport. You will be responsible for travelling to and from your closest local airport. However, Country to Canberra may supply limited petrol funds to help you get there.

If you are within driving distance from Canberra and do not require flights, Country to Canberra will organise transport and/or reimburse petrol costs after consultation with the winner.

You will stay in a Hotel or shared accommodation in the heart of Canberra. The cost of the accommodation will be covered by Country to Canberra. Country to Canberra representatives will stay at the accommodation for supervision purposes and you will be chaperoned to and from the accommodation by a Country to Canberra team member.

The Country to Canberra team will look after the winners from the moment they touch down! The winners will be greeted by a Country to Canberra team member, and transported to the hotel. They will be chaperoned by a Country to Canberra representative to all events. Country to Canberra will transport the winner back to Canberra International Airport to leave and return home. Our aim is for the winners’ to have a stress-free, happy and inspiring trip!

You can wear whatever you want! As you’ll be rubbing shoulders with some of Australia’s most powerful women, we suggest you wear smart casual, but it’s completely up to you.

No problems! A Country to Canberra representative will be happy to answer any additional questions. You can contact us via email at contact@countrytocanberra.com.au or over the phone by calling 0418 135 989.