By Stars Mentor, Tahleah Backo
Year 10 Stars from Heatley Secondary College in Townsville recently enjoyed an overnight camp to Magnetic Island. The camp was designed as a reward for those who have been regularly attending school.
The trip started with Magnetic Island Ferries kindly covering the girls’ fares and transport of the bus to the island. This was a lovely acknowledgement by community of the girls’ recent efforts at school and how positively the Stars program in Townsville is viewed. .
Visiting Magnetic Island was a first-time experience for many of the students and it was special for them to spot dolphins, and to witness a large whale birthing her calf which was incredible and memorable to watch!
Students visited Koala Village and interacted with the animals while learning about Australian wildlife species. Some of the girls and Mentors faced their fears and held a real life three metre python, while others found watching was enough of a challenge! The young women were fascinated to learn that wombats are able to run up to 40km per hour and blue tongue lizards feature a blue tongue to merely turn off predators, even though its tongue is not actually poisonous.
The Stars showed great interest in learning more about the work of a Ranger, and a couple of students later expressed interest in this profession when they finish school.
Following dinner our Mentors facilitated a yarning circle, where girls and Mentors shared stories about themselves and their dreams for the future. Snippets included:
- “I want to be the first person in my family to go to university”
- “I want to be a good Mum”
- “I want to get my licence and buy a car”
- “I want to become a childcare worker”.
Many awesome dreams were shared within the group and connections were strengthened for the experience. By the end of the camp many of the girls had built greater confidence and stronger friendships were formed, while trust also grew between the girls and Mentors. Students shared that the time away together made them feel more open to confide in the Mentors in the future when they are struggling, and they promised to speak up and ask for help if things get hard.
Many beautiful memories were made on this trip where our Stars were able to take the time to reflect on recent achievements and to focus on wellbeing.
The Stars Foundation focuses on four pillars designed to improve health and education outcomes for First Nations girls and young women. These include:
- Education, Training and Employment – encourages active engagement in education and the development of positive plans for a successful transition into full time employment or further study.
- Wellbeing – focuses on personal wellbeing and mental health.
- Healthy Lifestyles – addresses healthy habits for life including nutrition, self-care and personal hygiene, sport, and fitness.
- Community, Culture and Leadership – celebrates First Nations culture and encourages activity within communities which develops confidence and pride.