Imagine seeing the ocean for the first time

20 November 2017NT Program
Imagine seeing the ocean for the first time. This was one of many life-changing experiences that young people from the remote NT communities of Yulamu and Laramba had last week when they participated in the NASCA Resilience Camp.

About four hours drive North-West of Alice Springs are the remote communities of Yuelamu and Laramba. NASCA has been working there for many years, and we have built longstanding relationships with community members, schools, and children. The kids at the schools don’t get many chances to travel and the end of year camp is a great way to motivate students to engage in school all year round.

After a year of hard work and excellence in behaviour and attendance, 14 young people were chosen to come to Sydney for a week with NASCA. They built on their resilience skills including teamwork, leadership, and confidence all whilst having an amazing time.

Community, culture, and belonging is core to all of the work NASCA does. When the young people arrived in Sydney, Auntie Donna Ingram gave them a tour of Redfern. She talked them through the suburb’s history and explained that Redfern is the heartland of Aboriginal Sydney. It was great to be able to show the kids that there are different kinds of Aboriginal communities than they may have seen before and that they would always be welcome here.

The week was jam-packed with activities designed to push young people to improve their confidence, leadership, and teamwork. We started off with a surfing lesson on Bondi beach. For many of the kids, this was the first time they had seen the ocean, they were quick to throw themselves into the challenge and by the end had all stood up on their surfboards. For the girls, this was a great chance to show off their athletic abilities and many of them were naturals in the water. Watching the kids experience this for the first time was a truly pleasurable moment and what NASCA is all about.

This was quickly followed by trampolining, a trip to the Sydney Swans – where the kids got to show off their skills on the training equipment, a visit to Taronga Zoo and indoor rock climbing.

One of the most challenging activities was a day out at Vision Valley. The day consisted of high wire ropes courses, canoeing, and team building activities. High wire ropes courses were a huge challenge for our young people. The heights were scary at first, but with a bit of encouragement all the students overcame their fears and completed the course. Yuelamu Teacher Elody said “I think it’s great there is a program like this, the activities build teamwork and leadership, the kids were a bit hesitant at the beginning by the end they were all jumping in and getting involved”.

One of the students has Cerebral Palsy. During the week he found ways to overcome his personal challenges and pushed himself to try all the activities. He was determined to finish the ropes courses and succeeded in completing both levels. His teacher Michael said “these activities show kids you can do anything, to have a go and keep trying, these opportunities are fabulous.” At NASCA we believe in the inherent strength and resilience of all our students and have high expectations no matter what challenges they have. Time and time again they show us that they are extremely capable and exceed all our high expectations with their growth in confidence and self-esteem.

One special highlight of the week was the opportunity to go see the Australia vs Honduras World Cup Qualifier where the Socceroos won 3-1. Our young people got to watch in a stadium with 80,000 other fans – an exciting experience for us all.

As the week drew to a close the kids reflected on their trip, when asked about their favourite activities they couldn’t agree – everything from seeing penguins at the zoo to nailing somersaults on trampolines. We know that they will take home with them great memories and having built on the important skills they need as an Aboriginal young person.

We don’t know what path our young people will take, a few of them were trying to picture themselves living in a big city and some of them may decide to come to Sydney again in the future to work or study. However, whatever future they choose we will be walking right beside them.


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