We ran our second Back to the Bush program thanks to The Funding Network.
Here's a statement from Jason Sampson, the Aboriginal Community Development Coordinator at the Airds Community of Schools who bought the boys on the camp. This is why we need to keep on doing these camps!
"I had an absolutely amazing experience on the cultural camp that some of my Aboriginal high school boys participated in just recently. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the boys engaged and interacted in all the experiences provided by Peter and Dean throughout the camp. These two men had a very calming and influential presence on the boys. The role modeling, patience and genuine care they showed towards my students was pivotal in allowing them to feel comfortable enough to embrace the experiences with enthusiasm.
The cultural experiences were amazing. To remind students that they belong to a culture that is the oldest surviving culture in the world and how that can enhance your identity, was inspirational. The many things that my students struggle with on a day to day basis is debilitating to their progression as confident young men. This camp allowed for the boys to 'slow down' for a moment and reconnect with themselves, their culture but most importantly, feelings and emotions. I have witnessed throughout the camp and beyond, the positive changes and attitudes that the students are proudly and confidently showing around my school. The young men, whom I now have a stronger connection with because of this camp, are all super talented in their own rights and I had a chance to witness some of those talents. The one thing that was common throughout all the boys was the keen interest that they all showed in their heritage. The cultural experiences these boys had has only increased their talents. I can feel the pride and hear it in their voices when they now speak to me about who they are and where they come from.
This camp was a timely reminder for not only the students to reconnect with themselves but for me as a staff member to connect with my students. As a proud Aboriginal man myself, these boys taught me a lot about the importance of connecting with your culture and strengthening your identity. I am so glad that these boys have the chance to experience these camps at such young ages that it will only benefit them on their journey of finding themselves, taking the time to reconnect with themselves and most importantly, knowing that they can strengthen their identity in which make them stronger and resilient young men."