Last Friday, eight participants from Souths Cares Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) and Deadly Youth Mentoring Programs went on a day excursion with their mentors to explore Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park, on beautiful Guringai country.

The day kicked off with students meeting at Heffron Park before making the journey to the Northern Beaches in Souths Cares' buses. Before commencing their bush-walk, the group gathered for a discussion on the importance of respecting each other and respecting the country on which they would be spending the day exploring.

The hike through the National Park started downhill, however quickly turned into a steep incline which physically and mentally tested the group of participants, whom ranged in age from 11 years old to 17 years old. The group bonded over their shared goal of completing the Hike as one, willing each other on and showing great teamwork to overcome the challenge.

Thomas Johnson, Nanga Mai Marri Program Mentor

The hike really pushed us out of our comfort zones but seeing the group encourage and spur each other on when the stair climbs got tough was the highlight for me. It was really rewarding to see students from different schools bond and form new connections.

Throughout the journey, the group connected with nature, viewed Aboriginal rock paintings and explored culturally significant sights along the trail.

The group stopped at the picturesque West Head Beach for lunch, which overlooks Barrenjoey Lighthouse before completing their return hike. The 4.5km hike took over 2 hours and was a great team building and bonding activity for students and their mentors.

Participants from the Nanga Mai Marri and Deadly Youth Mentoring Programs explore Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park

To conclude the excursion, the group participated in a gratitude workshop hosted by Souths Cares mentors, where they reflected on the excursion, their school holidays and their upcoming goals for Term 3.

Dekodah Farrugia is a participant in the Nanga Mai Marri (Dream Big) Program and thoroughly enjoyed the outing.

"I really enjoyed getting out in nature as I’ve been at home for most of the school holidays. It was great to meet some new people, push ourselves out of our comfort zones and learn about culture", Dekodah said.

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