Seven participants from the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) program and seven participants from the Deadly Youth Mentoring Program attended Souths Cares annual leadership and cultural camp last week. The camp was hosted at Garrawarra Farm within the Royal National Park.
The participants were selected to attend the camp due to demonstrating leadership qualities and achieving their case plan goals such as improving their school attendance.
The three-day camp included a wide range of leadership, teamwork and cultural activities. Day one kicked off with a camp induction, a hike and swim at Wattamolla, a settling in ceremony and a ‘Koori’s got talent’ competition.
Day two included a sunrise ceremony and cultural talk with Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, a whale story and sacred site exploration in the National Park, swimming at Jibbon beach and a hike through the bush.
Day three included a bushwalk to special site within the Royal National Park followed by a sunrise ceremony and group reflections.
Throughout the camp, the participants worked on their own set of clapsticks which were provided by Uncle Dean Kelly. Communication was a key theme of the camp, with the participants working on their relationships, teamwork, gratitude and leadership.
William Last, Mentor from the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) program witnessed the growth from the participants over the course of the camp.
“The camp provided a great opportunity for us to be grateful for what we have and to understand the significance of cultural ceremonies," said Mr Last.
"The kids grew as a unit and responded really well to Uncle Dean Kelly and his cultural knowledge”.
Yileen Gordon, Mentor from the Deadly Youth Mentoring program said the participants embraced the opportunities to learn about Aboriginal culture.
“The camp was a great opportunity for us to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and jump into Aboriginal culture and practices," said Mr Gordon.
"I admired the boys’ attitude and commitment towards the ceremonies and camp activities.”
Jayden Simms was one of the students selected to attend the camp and the loved every minute of the experience.
“We learnt about fire-making and ceremonies and were able to make our own clapsticks to keep," said Mr Simms.
"I learnt a lot from Uncle Dean and can’t wait for next year.”