The Assertive Outreach Team took over 20 young Aboriginal youth travelled into the South West region for a week of connecting to country, each other and culture.
Kambarang is one of the six seasons in the Ngoonar calendar. It occurs from October through to November and is the season of birth. Colours are exploding and there is lots of new life. Many things are undergoing transformation with the warm change in the weather.
The aim of the camp is to encourage Aboriginal youth to respect the Aboriginal ‘Country’ in which they live and recreate on. The focus is to understand how critical the connection to the land is to Aboriginal people and to show them that they are descendants of one of the oldest cultures in the world, and at its heart, is a strong affinity with the land they inhabit. Helping to understand this connection, creates pride in who they are and where they have come from. We are then handing them the responsibility to live and create a better future for themselves.
We help build confidence by encouraging participation in making the camp a success. They assist mentors in preparing Kangaroo meat for a BBQ dinner, those that did not wish to help prepare meat assisted other mentors to make damper, this gave them the opportunity to learn cultural skills in relation to food preparation.
There were many beautiful experiences for everyone. The Wellington Discovery Forest – Nearer to Nature (Nyoongar Way) guided walk taught them to look for bush tucker and how other plants can be used. Searching for hidden animals in bush helped embed connection to country and sustainable hunter-gatherer techniques. They also got to participate in hands-on toolmaking, learning to make a fire and completed an art piece together. Troy Bennell from Ngalang Wongi (Dreaming Town Tour) joined youth at camp to conduct a welcome to his country and smoking ceremony before going on a guided tour around Bunbury central giving them a historical facts, stories of early settlers and dreaming stories specific to the region to deliver a fascinating insight into the history of the town. He then came back to camp and extended the tour giving then tools to complete basic landscape pieces in the traditional way.
In Collie, they spent multiple days swimming and attempting to catch marron and fish at Honeymoon Pool. The forest and bushlands through that area hold cultural significance. The young people also did a tour of the underground mine and the historical museum, which was very informative, and the young people engaged in a scavenger hunt to find different items throughout the museum.
At the mine they did a simulated explosion and a ex miner explained the mining process and the conditions they worked in prior to them being closed in recent years.
Dressed to impress, one of the final nights we all headed to a local pizza restaurant, this being the first time for some of them. We feasted on Large 22” pizza and a variety of flavoured wings.
Camp participants were encouraged through mindfulness and kindness activities, we had an art corner set up throughout the week so the young people could go and chill out and be creative when they wanted to. Our evenings were filled with a quiz night, multiple nights of spot light and sitting by the camp fire yarning and cooking smores.
The week went quick and before we knew it, it was time to go home.
Many thanks to the other agencies who helped us by supporting this camp and our young Aboriginal people to get a strong connection to culture: Alcoa & Department of Communities and Child Protection
GP down south is an exemplary not-for-profit community organisation. We have been providing health and wellbeing services in the Peel regions and the South West of WA since 1994.