Souths Cares hosted the third annual leadership and cultural camp last week, with sixteen students from the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) and Deadly Youth Mentoring Programs attending.
The three-day camp was facilitated by Dean Kelly at Garawarra Farm in the Royal National Park. The program itinerary included a Sunrise Cultural Ceremony with Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, sacred site exploration within the Royal National Park, Aboriginal artefact making, teamwork and leadership challenges, a 14km hike through the bush as well as plenty of recreational time for participants to go swimming and relax around the campfire.
The Souths Cares team were thrilled with the camp and paid tribute to the sixteen young people who were pushed out of their comfort zones and learnt about teamwork, leadership and Aboriginal culture.
Deadly Youth Mentor, Yileen Gordon, explained the impact the camp had on the young people in his program.
"The camp provided us with a great opportunity to learn more about the practical application of our Aboriginal culture within today’s tech-savvy society," he said.
"I was very proud of how the participants came together, worked as a team and refined their leadership skills."
Carly Phillips, a mentor in the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) program, worked closely with the six girls who attended the camp and was also impressed with their teamwork.
"The girls came together as a group and helped each other overcome challenges," Carly explained.
"The highlight for me was the 14km hike, and I was so proud of how we completed this journey as a group."
William Last, another mentor in the program, elaborated on how attending the camp had helped his professional development as a mentor.
"The camp taught me about patience and resilience and also showed me that in life, there are obstacles and challenges, but if you set your goals you can achieve almost anything."
Each participant left the camp with their own ‘Boondi’ (a traditional Aboriginal tool used for hunting and digging), camping equipment and a T-shirt and Hoodie in the same theme as the Rabbitohs 2019 Indigenous Jersey (designed by artist Joe Walker).
The annual leadership and cultural camp has become a pivotal part of Souths Cares’ mentoring programs and next year’s camp can’t come soon enough for our students and staff!