Reconnecting Aboriginal young people to culture and country

YMCA Victoria is thrilled to announce we have received a $300,000 grant from the Victorian Government to fund eight camps and a series of ongoing active recreation programming for young Aboriginal people.

The Aboriginal Camping and Active Recreation Project will be delivered in partnership with local Aboriginal organisations to provide an educational, spiritual and recreational experience that reconnects Aboriginal young people to country and culture.

With a tailored program designed for Aboriginal young people and their unique experience, this funding will create opportunities to connect participants with one another, form new friendships, build self-confidence and identity and hone new skills.

Our Aboriginal partner organisations will deliver a large portion of the programming, providing opportunities for participants to meet Aboriginal elders and learn more about the culture and land they meet on. The YMCA will provide all the recreational and camping activities, healthy food and fun that comes with a Y camp experienceNick Buskens, National Programs and Events Manager YMCA Actions Sports.

The camps will be delivered in partnership with Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association, Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-Operative, Dhudhuroa Waywurru Nations Aboriginal Corporation and the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency.

The funding will engage over 320 young people in local communities at the following YMCA Camps:

Willum Warrain is very excited to be partnering with the Y in offering jointly run camps for our Aboriginal youth on the Mornington Peninsula. It is so important for our young people to have opportunities like this to have fun, make friends, learn new skills tackling physical challenges together, at the same time deepening cultural knowledge and identity, said Peter Aldenhoven Executive Officer for the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association.

As part of the camp program, the YMCA Action Sports team will deliver skateboarding lessons and participants will receive take-home skateboards and introductions to local sporting groups so they continue their new-found skill in an inclusive environment without barriers like fees, uniforms and training.

In 2019, the Y hosted an Indigenous Skate Camp at Anglesea Recreation Camp with important emphasis on using skate as a way for young people to reconnect with culture and country.

The Y manages seven camps in Victoria, with only two currently open due to COVID-19 restrictions. While dates are not set for this exciting program, the team is making the most of lockdown by planning for its delivery when it is safe to do so.

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