Our City Camp Manager, Dave Ciavarella, was recently invited to assist on an expedition with young Indigenous people from the Northern Territory as part of the Foundation of Young Australian’s IMPACT program. 

Needless to say, we were delighted to be asked to be part of the expedition in July 2016. IMPACT is a three-year social action and leadership program for young Indigenous people studying Years 10-12 in secondary school with a focus of empowering, building skills and fostering a connection to community, country and culture.

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Group watching sunset from Ubirr Lookout, NT

A shared vision

The IMPACT program, much like our Cadetship program, is designed to equip young people with the skills, competencies and confidence to complete Year 12 or equivalent and gain meaningful employment.

Participants engage through monthly workshops, weekend retreats and week-long residentials that focus on skill development, individual and collective growth, strengthening cultural identity and building community networks. Sounds awesome, right?

We thought so, so it made sense for our organisations to join forces and achieve our shared goals and visions for young people.

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View from Nourlangie Rock, NT

Building leadership skills

The project is designed to develop young people’s leadership potential, self-management and team work skills. Students unlocked their personal intentions and challenges over the course of the expedition, learning about themselves and their team mates in the process. They also had an opportunity to support and push their cohort peers to finish the trek, enduring heat and physical exhaustion and overcoming these adversities in order to achieve personal goals. Amazing and powerful stuff, straight up.

Connecting to country

During the 4-day and 11km adventure trek, the expedition took the crew through Litchfield National Park and Kakadu National Park, starting from Walker Creek and heading out to Florence Falls. As well as providing a physical and mental challenge, the expedition provided a special time for young people to re-connect to country. How incredible does it look!?

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View from banks during Guluyambi boat cruise, NT

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Florence Falls, NT

The journey took the group of young people through some stunning scenery, natural wonders, as well as a guided boat tour along a croc infested river (!) of the Guluyambi River. Talk about immersing yourself in the wildness of the land.

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Crocodile resting on the bank during Guluyambi Boat Cruise, NT

Strengthening cultural identity

The following day, the students hiked up Nourlangie Rock with the help of a Kakadu ranger who spoke about the art, language, story and Indigenous knowledge of this particular meeting place. This allowed students to connect to their cultural identity and explore what culture means to them in an authentic way.

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View from Nourlangie Rock, NT

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View from Ubirr Lookout, NT

Importantly, the expedition was a place to discuss and share our very diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture as we value learning and connection with each other.

Many thanks to FYA and the amazing young people who invited us to participate in the journey.