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During the April school holidays, Souths Cares facilitated a Leadership and Cultural Camp for 16 female participants in the Liverpool Opportunity Hub and Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) Programs.

The camp was hosted at One Mile Beach Ingenia Holiday Park, in the Port Stephens region on beautiful Worimi Country.

After arriving in camp on day one, the group spent the afternoon building new friendships whilst taking advantage of the great facilities on-site which included mini-golf, a pool, spa and beachfront access. In the evening, participants headed to Nelsons Bay for a welcome dinner at the Nelsons Way Restaurant.

On day two, the group was taken under the cultural guidance of the amazing staff from the Murrook Cultural Centre. Their first activity was a hike to the top of Domeree/Tomaree Mountain, learning about the cultural significance of the site and hearing stories about elders watching young men learn to canoe in the open water from the top of the Mountain. The girls showed great determination and resilience throughout the hike, encouraging each other to complete the journey as one.

After returning to the Murrook Cultural Centre, which means ‘Happy Place’ in the local Worimi language, the group spent the afternoon participating in cultural activities such as a bush tucker tour, jewellery making, weaving and learning a Welcome Dance from the Worimi People.

Upon arriving back to camp, the girls were treated to an in-house day spa which provided a great opportunity to relax and reflect on the cultural learnings from earlier in the day.

After dinner, the group participated in a campfire yarn which incorporated getting painted in Ochre to connect with ancestors and add to the significance of the experience. Staff and participants shared some candid insights into their personal journeys and the challenges they have overcome. At the conclusion of the group discussion, students and staff immersed themselves in the smoke from the fire to signify cleansing.

The Leadership and Cultural Camp provided abundant opportunities for participants to build new friendships whilst learning about leadership, teamwork and culture.

Chanel Chalmers is a participant in the Liverpool Opportunity Hub Program and explained the camp provided her with confidence for her future.

“Coming on these camps with positive, strong and supportive female role models gives us hope for the future, hope that we can be the best versions of ourselves in time to come, and embrace our journeys as they unravel”, Chanel said.

Liverpool Opportunity Hub Program Coordinator, Bianca Williams explained the camp was a profound experience for all the girls who attended. “The camp provided our girls with a great opportunity to build their confidence, resilience and ability to work as part of a team.

After completing the camp, the group are determined to lead by example and be positive role models for others in their schools and communities”, Bianca said.

The Girls Leadership and Cultural Camp was proudly supported by the NSW Government and Ingenia Holiday Parks.

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