The Jobs Australia Foundation sponsored trek of the Kokoda Trail has kicked-off after departing from Brisbane airport on Saturday.
On Sunday August 1 they departed Port Moresby to begin the trek - a media release with more information about the trek follows below.
22 July 2010
Jobs Australia Foundation Media Release 22 July 2010
Young Indigenous leaders and their mentors trek the Kokoda Trail
A pioneering initiative of the Jobs Australia Foundation to develop the leadership skills of a group of young Indigenous people and their mentors from across Australia is centred around a group trek of the Kokoda Trail from August 1 to 9.
Thirteen young people aged 17-22 and seven mentors aged 26-65 will be accompanied by former Olympian and Foundation Patron Kyle Vander Kuyp. Chair of the Foundation, David Thompson AM, said “the Trek will retrace the iconic route of the WWII’s ANZAC 39th Battalion and is intended to build participants’ leadership capabilities particularly focusing on the qualities displayed by the Diggers, “courage, endurance and mateship.”
The Indigenous Youth Leadership Program is an innovative approach to leadership development and is being delivered by the Foundation as a pilot over the next two years. The Jobs Australia Foundation has received generous support from Jobs Australia and its members, the Huawei Technology Company, the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and the South Australia Government.
Indigenous young people and mentors who have been selected to participate in the program are from metropolitan, rural and remote communities across Australia. The participants have been preparing for the 96km trek since April when they participated in a four day leadership training camp that combined a mix of physical and class room based personal development and team building activities.
Jodie Belyea, the Jobs Australia Foundation Program Manager, commented that “leading in today’s society requires a mix of intellectual, emotional and physical resilience. The decision to trek the Kokoda trail was made to provide the young people and their mentors with the opportunity to develop and practice their leadership skills in an environment that tests and strengthens their resilience. This experience will be a metaphor for life, living and leading for members of the group. It is expected to create a memory that will remain etched in their minds for years to come- providing a point of reference to draw from as they continue on their journey as leaders in their communities.”
For many of the young participants, “the Trek” will be the first trip outside their community. For all of them, it will be their first experience of the Kokoda Trail and of local Indigenous Papuan people.
In September, after the trek, participants will meet together over four days to debrief and process their experiences as individuals and a group. At the conclusion of this training a celebration event will be held on 19th September to acknowledge their achievements over the 10 months.
There are still opportunities to support the initiative and offers of financial and/or in-kind assistance are keenly sought. Email Jodie Belyea at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you might assist the project.
See the Jobs Australia Foundation website for more information about the Trek and the participants. www.jafoundation.com.au