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Exploring Culture – Kolbe’s Indigenous Camp

Lisa Dann (Aboriginal Liaisons Officer)

Amidst the gentle breeze of the Noongar season of Djeran, Camp Wattle Grove recently played host to this year’s Indigenous camp, a profound experience shared with thirty-three moorditj Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The central focus of the camp was to foster strong relationships among students across different age groups and with College staff, creating a sense of unity and understanding.

The camp kicked off with a heartwarming yarn session, allowing everyone to introduce themselves and share their stories. It was a privilege to have Les Oakley from 2 Deadly Food & Fitness and Perth Glory Player David Williams as our guides for the camp. Their life journeys and experiences left us all inspired and eager to learn.

One of the highlights was the team-building activity involving tapping sticks and message sticks. Students expressed their stories through art on these sticks, a powerful exercise that not only encouraged creativity but also gave each student a voice. With paint, wood burning tools, engraving, and markers at their disposal, students created unique pieces that reflected their individuality.

David led a session of Deadly Games, including soccer drills and inclusive games that
promoted interaction and physical well-being. These activities not only engaged the students but also taught them valuable skills and teamwork.

“The highlight of my stay at camp was meeting Perth Glory player David Williams.” – Mitchell, Year 9

A special visit from Mr. Alweyn added to the excitement, and we were delighted to have some kangaroos visit us, adding to our camp experience and creating special memories.

The culinary aspect of the camp was equally enriching, with Les Oakley collaborating with the students on the camp’s menu weeks prior. Teams of students worked together to prepare a
delicious dinner, learning culinary skills and incorporating indigenous spices for an authentic
touch. The aromas wafting from the kitchen were simply divine, and the menu featured a variety of dishes including roast beef, emu nachos, kangaroo Thai salad, and barramundi fish burgers. The highlight was a deluxe birthday cake made by the students for Damellia, who
celebrated her 16th birthday at the camp.

“I loved spending my birthday at camp and making our own tapping sticks.” – Damellia, Year 11

The camp also focused on fitness and nutrition, with a boot-camp style physical training session led by Les Oakley, emphasising the mental benefits of exercise. The importance of food choices and their impact on physical development and overall health was also discussed, with David Williams sharing his own dietary routines as an elite athlete.

Kolbe’s Indigenous camp was a resounding success, thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of our college staff. It was a time of learning, bonding, and experiencing the rich Indigenous culture firsthand. The memories created during this camp will be cherished for years to come, and we look forward to more such enriching experiences in the future.

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