Inspire and empower Indigenous youth in Australia

 
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Desert2Surf is currently gearing up for its first 2013 program. We are running another Stand and Lead program - Trip South 2013. Three indigenous boys from the remote Northern Territory community of Beswick (Wugularr) are traveling south to surf and engage in cultural exchange activities with Desert2Surf. All three boys have previously participated in stand up paddling sessions with Desert2Surf in their own community (2011 and 2012) at the beautiful Beswick Falls. The boys have finished secondary schooling are now part of the Roper Gulf Shire's Youth Services Program. They all unreservedly made a big commitment to the stand up paddling sessions. Over an extended period all three have also demonstrated high levels of commitment, reliability and skill development within the Youth Services Program.

The Youth Services Program involves, amongst other things, short course studies and when when we visited Beswick the boys were engaged in the establishment of a plant nursery. It was on the basis of Desert2Surf's experience with the boys and recommendations from the Roper Gulf Shire that these boys were chosen for Trip South 2013. Adam Bostock, the oldest of the three boys, is leading the trip and will become Desert2Surf's second 'official' leader. The Roper Gulf Shire is providing invaluable logistical support at the Darwin end by transporting the boys to and from the airport.  

We look forward to reporting all about this trip in our next report! Thank you once again for all your support

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Happy New Year. Thanks to your support in 2012, the Stand and Lead project has had another successful year. Your donations helped helped Desert2Surf to achieve its goal of assisting indigenous youth to develop communication and leadership skills to use in their communities. It helped Desert2Surf to achieve its goal of providing young indigenous people with the opportunity to travel outside their community and participate in activities conducive to their physical and mental health and well-being. Desert2Surf also achieved its goal of generally promoting the physical and mental health and general welfare of young indigenous people living in isolated and disadvantaged communities

The Stand and Lead 2012 – Trip South also built the younger girls’ self confidence, self esteem and self belief.The challenge and fun of surfing, in a safe and supported environment, that all three girls experienced had a huge impact in the short, and hopefully, longer term. All three girls are very keen to surf again and are more than willing to fulfil any Desert2Surf requirements in order to participate in future trips. One requirement is regular school attendance and commitment to their education generally.

As we mentioned in a previous report, one of our girls, Rebecca, has been involved in five Desert2Surf trips. Her first trip was in 2008 when she learned to surf at Torquay. Being able to place Rebecca in a leadership role for the duration of Stand and Lead 2012 – Trip South was a fantastic achievement for Desert2Surf. She saw herself as a leader and behaved accordingly. She managed the younger participants in a caring and adult way, she became spokesperson for the group during the school visit and she was a fabulous role model for the younger girls during the surfing. Throughout the trip Rebecca demonstrated increasing capabilities, in many ways, and hopefully she will be able to apply this in her community life.

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Stand and Lead 2012 was a great success again this year- Desert2Surf's second stand up paddle session at Beswick Falls with indigenous youth from the Beswick Community. In July 2011 Desert2Surf, in partnership with the Roper Gulf Shire, conducted the Stand and Lead Project in Beswick. Beswick lies 110 kms south-east of Katherine on the Central Arnhem Highway, in the Northern Territory, Australia.

The youth leaders involved in Stand and Lead took to stand up paddling flawlessly and on the second day of the project were able to demonstrate their leadership abilities by passing on the skill to younger members of the Beswick Community. The youth leaders are now set to travel south for some outdoor adventure and cultural exchange with Desert2Surf on Victoria’s West Coast in 2012.

The charitable trust donations enabled these sessions, so thank you. By running trips which engage participants in fun, challenging and empowering recreational activities such as surfing we aim to promote the physical and mental health and wellbeing of indigenous youth from disadvantaged communities.

We recently received this update from Deb at Desert2Surf - it's great to hear all of the positive feedback:

We are just back from our FANTASTIC Stand and Lead 2012 trip in the Northern Territory. Everything went according to plan and we can't wait to share it all with you. Having the extra stand up paddle boards was brilliant.  In each of the three sessions the kids were on the boards the whole time. We had to drag them off every session when it was pack up time!


The t-shirts, rashies and hats were awesome and we felt very proud to be wearing them. I hope you like the photo of the girls in the rashies (they are the girls set to come to Victoria in December to surf).

We have so many great shots, I've up loaded three albums (an album from each session) to Desert2Surf's Facebook.  Maybe you could have a quick look at them: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Desert2Surf/94833394047.

Thank you so much once again for your support. We are so grateful!

Firstly, having t-shirts, rash vests and hats with the Desert2Surf logo impacts directly on D2S personnel. Practically it promotes the sun safe message when we work with youth on trips and it makes us easily identified in indigenous communities where visitor protocols need to be observed. It also enhances the sense of purpose and teamwork which is essential for achieving our goals. The impact on trip participants is also of a practical nature in that it provides sun protection and easy identification especially when surfing. As well as rewarding participants with something special to keep it promotes a sense of belonging and achievement which is important.

The greatest impact of the funding is being able to continue and expand the ‘Stand and Lead’ project into 2012.  Without the funding the project may not have been able to consolidate and move into the leadership phase.  ‘Stand and Lead’ gives indigenous youth the opportunity to participate in stand up paddling sessions, on billabongs in their own community, where they learn both technique and water safety. Stand up paddling is a perfect flat water alternative and can lead up to ocean surfing, where some participants in the stand up paddling sessions are invited to travel south to surf with D2S on Victoria’s west coast in the warmer months which is very exciting!

Finally, the purchase of two stand up paddle boards means that more youth can participate in D2S sessions and more remote communities can have potentially year-round access to a positive and productive recreational outlet, which is our overall aim.

We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone for all of the donations that our making these developments possible!

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Project Leader

Steve Gwenin

Field Director
Exeter, Devon United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Inspire and empower Indigenous youth in Australia