Strengthening Bonds and Fostering Wellbeing

After the recent Netball Carnival in Katherine, our Nhulunbuy Stars stayed on for a day of bonding and wellbeing activities, exploring local Jawoyn country and visiting Nitmiluk National Park.

First, the girls spent some time at Katherine Hot Springs with Yirrkala and Tennant Creek Stars, playing a lengthy game of ‘Marco Polo’ and carrying out many surprise ‘dunkings’ of Stars Mentors! It was so wonderful to see Stars girls from across the Northern Territory forming friendships and building strong rapport.

Next morning, some of our Stars hiked up to the Baruwei Lookout and explored two of the 13 gorges by boat with Nitmiluk Cultural Tours. A lot of the tourists we met were curious about our Stars shirts and asked lots of questions. Many overseas visitors, who had their cameras at the ready, were very appreciative of our girl’s uncanny ability to spot local wildlife!

Our awesome young women spoke to them with pride about Stars and showed a great deal of confidence in explaining the program and everything it does to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls with their education and successful transition into further study or employment.

 

Darwin Induction Camp for Jabiru Stars

Students from our new program in Jabiru, NT, travelled to Darwin for a Stars Induction Camp recently.

The camp gave ten excited and enthusiastic girls from Years 6 to 9 an opportunity to learn more about Stars, bond with one another and get to know their Mentors.

After an early departure from Jabiru, the students visited the Dripstone Middle School Stars Program, where they met other Stars girls and participated in a health workshop, followed by a delicious chicken curry lunch made by the Dripstone Mentors.

The afternoon was spent having fun at the Darwin Wavepool, followed by dinner at Darwin Wharf, where the Stars were excited to bump into another school camp from Jabiru!

To top off the night, the girls were taken ten-pin bowling, where there was strong competition, plenty of gutter balls and lots of laughs!

The next morning, the girls visited the Sanderson Middle School Stars Program, where they had a delicious breakfast. Sanderson Mentor, Iggy Vallejo, spoke to the students about Stars and sparked many ideas for activities for the Jabiru Program.

Morning tea at the beautiful Nightcliff beach was followed by the long journey home to Jabiru.

Engagement Activity Focuses on Art

During their Year 9 sleepover, our Thuringowa Stars were exposed to a range of different types of artworks out in the community.

At a local Townsville gallery, the girls enjoyed an exhibition of works specifically designed for young people, before moving on to the amazing Aluminium Art Gallery.

This unique gallery exhibits work from Australian and international artists, who create their pieces using specialised techniques of grinding and painting on recycled aluminium ‘canvases’.

Finally, at an exhibition of traditional Torres Strait Islander artefacts titled ‘Evolution’, the girls were taken on a journey from time immemorial, when masks were used in ceremonial rituals involving art, theatre and dance.

The activity was rounded off with a calming ‘Yarning Circle by the Sea’, which encouraged our young women to have quiet conversations with one another and just ‘be in the moment’, without the constant distractions of technology.

Inspiring Journey to Success

Candice Liddy, a Darwin physiotherapist and businesswoman from a well-known local Indigenous family, last week provided our Haileybury Rendall senior VCAL students with her perspective on life and how to achieve success.

Candice has had an inspiring journey, beginning with the difficult decision in her final year of school to spilt Year 12 over two years, to allow her to maintain her commitment to hockey, while also focusing on her studies and continuing to achieve good grades.

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Stars Tour RAAF during ‘Pitch Black’ Exercise!

Our Nightcliff Stars had a fantastic opportunity to go on a tour of Darwin’s RAAF base during the biennial ‘Pitch Black’ exercise, held from 27 July to 17 August.

‘Pitch Black’ features a range of realistic, simulated threats that can be found in a modern battle-space environment and provides an opportunity for the RAAF improve its force integration.

The young women toured the RAAF base in style on a bus, starting at the 13 Squadron Headquarters, and then they were treated to a surprise set up just for them.

Tour guide, Warrant Officer Jason Pyke, had arranged for the girls to get up close and personal with the ‘Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey’ chaperoned by two US pilots, who gave the girls a detailed insight into being a pilot on one of these amazing aircraft. Not surprisingly, the girls had plenty of questions to ask.

During the tour, there was a lot of discussion around women in the RAAF, with Commander Parsons telling the girls about the opportunities open to women in the Air Force.

He was very passionate about getting more Indigenous women involved and it was inspiring for the girls to hear that the RAAF has so many opportunities available to them in the future.

 

Stars Go To Uni

Five of our amazing Year 12 Casuarina Senior College students have taken part in University familiarisation programs in Sydney and Melbourne this year.

The students were selected after a competitive process, including writing a personal statement about why they wanted to be involved and what they thought they could get out of the program.

Early in the year, three of the students were invited to attend the University of Sydney’s Wingara Murra Program. This gave them a fantastic opportunity to get a feel for university life.

They were invited back in July for an intensive week of exam preparation, tutorials and scholarship information to help them achieve success in their final year of school.

It wasn’t all work, though. They also got to go on a harbour cruise and attend a performance of Bangarra Dance Theatre’s Dark Emu at the Sydney Opera House.

In August, another two Stars students travelled to the University of Melbourne to take part in the Murrup Barak Program, where they toured the residential colleges, met representatives from the different Faculties and spoke to current students about university life.

The two young women also took part in a leadership development program, which helped them connect with other Year 12 students and share their stories.

Again, it wasn’t all work! They were also taken to the movies, had fun ten-pin bowling and a great night in eating pizza and bonding with other Year 12 students from around Australia.

All five students came back to school in Darwin full of drive and motivation to complete Year 12 and go to university. We are so proud of their passion and we know that their determination to succeed will take them far.

Building Bonds in Kakadu

Stars has a strong focus on encouraging our students to engage actively in their education. One of the ways we do this is by building trusting relationships and encouraging participation.

Recently, ten Katherine Stars were taken on a camp to Jabiru with the aim of increasing their school attendance and developing stronger bonds with their Stars Mentors and with one another.

During the camp the girls were taken to Ubirr, one of Kakadu National Park’s most famous sites, to look at the rock art, which is considered among the best in the world.

And, of course, a trip to Ubirr would not be complete without settling down at the lookout to watch the sunset and enjoy feeling the ancient spirit and serenity of Kakadu wash over you.

The next day, the students took part in a cruise along Yellow Waters, where they learnt more about the wildlife of Kakadu and what it takes to become a tour guide.

The girls enthusiastically took part in all the activities, had a lot of fun and built important connections with each other and their Mentors. These strong relationships will support them as they continue their school education.

Walking Deadly!

‘Walking Deadly’ gives our junior and senior Pimlico Stars an opportunity to rise to a challenge, support one another and build rapport.

The weekly walking activity allows the girls to keep fit, relax their minds and enjoy some time out from their home and school stresses.

It also helps strengthen relationships within the group and develops a sense of family and belonging. So much so, that the younger girls now see the seniors as ‘big sisters’, and vice versa!

Every third week, the group takes on Castle Hill, which rises to a height of around 286 metres and requires 3250 determined steps to conquer!

The ‘Walking Deadly’ group is part of Healthy Lifestyles and Wellbeing pillar of the Stars Plan and is supporting the girls to develop healthy bodies and healthy minds.

Getting a Feel for Uni Life

Three of our Heatley Stars attended the James Cook University’s Winter School for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students in Townsville during the recent school holidays.

It was a great opportunity for the students to get a feel for university life over five days – they even stayed in the residential colleges on campus.

The program involved taking part in academic lectures and tutorials, study sessions, faculty visits and a range of team-building activities.

Our young women explored several subject areas, including Education, Indigenous Studies, and Midwifery and Nursing.

The young women say that the immersive experience at JCU has given them the motivation to pursue tertiary education.

Stars Speak Out for Wiyi Yani U Thangani

Over the past few months, our Darwin-based Stars and Tennant Creek Stars have had the fantastic opportunity of taking part in consultations for the Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices) Project.

Wiyi Yan U Thangani is an initiative of June Oscar AO, the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The project is a national conversation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and girls, designed to hear their priorities, challenges and aspirations for themselves, their families and their futures.

Our Stars were given an opportunity to discuss the things in their lives that they saw as either strengths or weaknesses.

The young women identifed the support of their friends and family, as well as the mentoring they receive from Stars Foundation, as definite strengths in their lives.

The importance of a having strong cultural identity and the ability to participate in sporting activities were also raised as things that made them feel uplifted and confident within themselves.

Our Stars also clearly and confidently articulated the challenges they face on a daily basis and discussed their ideas about what needs to happen to make change in their communities.

All of our young women were very proud of their contribution to this important national process and they strongly believe that the conversation is paving the way for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and women across Australia to effect positive change for themselves and for their wider communities.

Stars student, Serena Barton, described their involvement in the project as “a great opportunity” because it gave them a voice on the issues that affect them as Indigenous young women.

“The consultation session allowed an open discussion in a safe environment, so we could be honest about the changes that we want to see within our communities.”

Stars Foundation
To support and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women to make active choices towards realizing their full potential in all aspects of their development and wellbeing.