31 March 2017

Earlier this year, we organised our annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Camp, which saw a group of children, young people and staff take part in a unique experience in Gumbaynggir Country, near Nambucca Heads on the North Coast of New South Wales.

The 25 children and young people in the camp group currently live in out of home care in the Sydney and North Coast regions.

During the trip everyone came together to sit together in traditional yarning circles, listen to elders tell dreamtime stories, and immerse themselves in different activities to learn more about their culture. The group felt grateful for this opportunity to learn about their heritage, re-connect with their culture and make new friends.

“The camp made me personally think about how important it is to learn about your culture and where you come from,”

Stephanie Hainke

“I could relate this to my daily work with refugees and asylum seekers who live so far away from the place where they grew up or where their parents were brought up.” said National Immigration Support Service Case Coordinator Stephanie Hainke.

Other camp activities included bush tucker walks, visits to sites that are important to the Aboriginal people of the land, and language lessons, in addition to fishing, beach safety and surfing lessons. The young participants were ecstatic when each received their very own tackle box and Shimano fishing rod.

Operations Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Youth Work, Terri Bird expressed her appreciation for our frontline staff and commended their commitment to volunteering their time so that young people get such valuable learning opportunities.

“As an Operations Manager, I rarely have the time to attend such things, leaving it to our frontline staff. This time, I was lucky enough to find time and attended for a couple of days,” said Terri. “For me, it was wonderful to spend time with our children and young people who don’t get to see me regularly. What an experience!” Our Cultural Support Planner Harry Callaghan was the camp’s chief organiser and lead. Aboriginal staff members and three staff from Life Without Barriers’ National Immigration Support Service team volunteered to support.

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