THIRTY-FIVE aspiring leaders from communities within the Victoria Daly Shire met at the Knotts Crossing Resort in Katherine this week to gain valuable knowledge and discuss issues directly affecting their communities.
Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants took part in the three-day Victoria Daly Shire Council forum, which incorporated both practical and theoretical activities and included special presentations from nationally respected cultural diversity speaker May Rosas, AFL kick-start’s Denis Coburn, the Cancer Council’s Jessica Alcrso and many more.
The FaHCSIA funded program aimed to give communities across the shire a platform to engage with one another and share their stories.
Shire Council Sport and Recreation Coordinator David Ferguson said the forum was a great success, allowing relevant information to be passed on directly to people in smaller communities in a bid to “empower them to achieve their goals in the future”.
“I (believe) everyone gained a lot from the three days, with participants growing within themselves and beginning to feel more comfortable as leaders,” Mr Ferguson said.
Victoria Daly Shire Council Youth Engagement Officer Jack Gala showcased different programs currently underway in the community of Kalkarindji, including holiday activities and nutritional cooking classes, and Peppimenarti’s Prue Dickens explained that within her community of just 200, “everyone works and learns together through activities, movies and programs”.
“The principal at our school actually drives around and picks up the local kids – helping them get to school,” she said.
“And we have a 95 per cent attendance rate – something our community is very proud of,” Ms Dickens said.
Misharna Cambell, 20, took to the stage during the council forum to speak of the struggles within her own community of Yarralin.
“It is really hard to get the older youth involved in the community, but we have a really good weekly schedule in place within Yarralin that everyone seems to enjoy.
“On Mondays we have basketball, Tuesdays we paint, Wednesday and Thursday our youth cook nutritious meals – taking healthy meals home to their families to share.
“Friday night we have disco and movie night, and on weekends we hold information sessions on sexual health and hygiene,” Ms Cambell said.
“We were recently gifted the old police station and we hope to turn that into a Youth Centre.
“It will be a place where we will do arts and crafts, we even have bands interested in playing there.”
During the three-day shire council forum the budding leaders from
communities across the Vitoria Daly Shire were encouraged to open up to different ideas, share knowledge and
understand each others cultural complexities.