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Our Youth Leadership Program participants have recently completed their first unique trip to Melbourne and Sydney and are gearing up for another deadly trip to Cairns in the next school holidays in July.

This year 14 year 11 students were successfully recruited for our Ganbina Youth Leadership Program, which is a one year program. The students range from schools in the Goulburn Valley including Greater Shepparton Secondary College, Notre Dame College, Numurkah Secondary, St Anne’s College and Goulburn Valley Grammar.

The Melbourne and Sydney trip was the first time many of our participants had flown interstate or at least travelled independently. This trip offered participants an opportunity to learn and be exposed to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, explore corporate career pathways, further Education opportunities, and enjoy group activities.

While in Sydney participants enjoyed a walking cultural tour of Redfern with local Elder and proud Wiradjuri woman Aunty Donna Ingram. Aunty Donna spoke about the social and political history of Redfern, as well as the pivotal roles other Elders played in making an impact on the community. The group stopped off and had a yarn about Mum Shirl and the Aboriginal Legal Service and its history and importance to providing the services and support they do. They also heard about the great work that Tribal Warrior, Redfern Community Hub and National Centre of Indigenous Excellence are doing for the local community.

During the Sydney part of the trip participants also visited AMP and engaged with staff, who spoke about their career pathways and their roles in the company and what they do. Participants also toured AMP’s amazing culturally immersed building, where they have quiet hubs and an amazing unique board table that shows off the harbour and history of the Gadigal Clan as the custodians of the land.

The students then went to visit the Australian Philanthropic Services where they hear about their service and the career opportunities and participated in a group activity where they had to decide what resources they would need to survive and rebuild from during a zombie apocalypse.

During each unique trip, Ganbina likes to provide the students with an additional fun activity they may not have experienced before. After all, with all the learning students are doing, it’s nice to have some downtime and a bit of fun! This year they did an OzJet boat ride where they got to experience the beautiful Sydney harbour. The boat ride included nose diving and 360° spins at a pretty fast speed! The students found this quite thrilling and were screaming and cheering to get a tad more soaked than what they already were!

The second leg of the trip was in Melbourne where they met with the amazing crew at ANZ, students got to use their imagination and creativity to design a robot. Some of the robots created by our students included the Blak School Bus, which transported Koorie kids to and from school. Another robot was a very mischievous robotic dog, a portable parking robot, but the winner was a robot called Mr Freeze that had a GPS tracker, was solar powered that sucks up water and produces ice! This genius robot was created by Jazmin, Mya and Shilah – congratulations on your creativity!

The Melbourne trip continued with a visit to the Ngarara Willim Centre at RMIT to learn the culture, history and pathways for further study with current Aboriginal students. Walking and exploring the Melbourne CBD they went on to learn about career opportunities at Insurance Australia Group (IAG), completed a Leadership Victoria workshops where students heard from Leadership Victoria alumni and had an amazing back-end tour of Crown Resorts.

On the last day the group was fortunate enough to visit Clothing the Gaps and had back end visit to their store where all the creativity happens. Students were lucky enough to get a discount on the merch, which they really appreciated and can now wear their values literally on their sleeves!

The other group activities involved the participants watching a competitive NRL game between Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park which was a first to experience for some and a team building activity at the Red Herring Escape, where the Haunted House group escaped in record time!
The participants returned home to Shepparton with a treasure trove of unique memories and experiences that they may never have experienced if it was not for them applying for the Ganbina Youth Leadership Program.

We are well underway planning the next unique trip for the Youth Leadership Program to Cairns, which the students will hear all about at the next travel preparation session. We are also helping our students with their passport applications as they will be heading to New Zealand in September!

If you are reading this and are in year 10 this year (or have a child in year 10) and would love to experience something like this, please keep an eye out for more information about Camp Jungai that will be delivered in December 2024. Camp Jungai is open to year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and offers a taste of the Ganbina Youth Leadership Program.