These events, involving groups of up to 20 young people along with peers, mentors, cultural leaders, artists and Elders, are a treasured opportunity for teenagers to spend quality time forming friendships, immersing themselves over three days and nights in Aboriginal culture and learning a vibrant programme of skills.
Key to these is dance. Mentored by regional Aboriginal dancers to build their dance skills and then performing for the wider community following the camps, participants play a key role in the revitalisation of dance and join a chain of cultural custodians who can pass down knowledge to the next generation. Young dancers are challenged to not only explore dance, but take on leadership roles, develop personal discipline and work as a team.
Another treasured highlight of the camps are the nightly campfires where young people enjoy singing, hearing stories of spirits and ancestors and yarning with Elders.
What do people say?
"The camps taught me to not just respect the land and my culture but respect myself and who I am. I’m so proud to be Aboriginal, I can’t put it any other way. The camp opened my eyes to so much. I would love to be a peer mentor next year, it would be awesome"
"It’s actually changed my life story dramatically because I had no spiritual connection when I was at home. I knew that I was Aboriginal but I didn’t have any understanding of my culture. Coming to these camps has given me greater knowledge and it leads into a whole different pathway. I love being part of it and it’s just helped me a lot."