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Innovative Culture Camp to Revive Traditions for Aboriginal Youth

Not-for-profit and out-of-home care provider, Pathfinders, is set to launch its first ever indigenous Cultural Camp to help Aboriginal youth reconnect with their culture.

To be held at The Willows in Glen Innes, New South Wales, during the October school holidays the four day camp is designed to address the loss of transmission of cultural knowledge from generation to generation.

Sally McLennan, Senior Manager of Pathfinders’ Out-of-Home Care program, said ensuring Aboriginal children remain connected to their culture is one of the most critical issues facing children and young people in care and is a key issue that staff working in out-of-home care need to manage.

“A lot of our kids struggle with their cultural identity because they haven’t been given the opportunity to learn and explore their culture and family origins,” she said.

“It falls within our responsibility as out-of-home care providers and carers to help our kids reconnect with their culture, and that’s exactly what we’re aiming for with the Pathfinders Cultural Camp.”

Hilton Naden, Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate program coordinator, organised the camp with the Pathfinders Pathways Out-of-Home Care program and the support of the Glen Innes Aboriginal Land Council.

Hilton, a proud Wiradjuri man, said he grew up getting his groceries and tools from the bush and forest. With modern facilities and the ease of driving to the shops, however, a lot of traditional cultural techniques such as hunting and gathering are becoming a lost art, he said.

“The children and young people at the Pathfinders Cultural Camp will participate in Aboriginal traditions and activities that they might otherwise never get to experience,” Naden said.

“Having Aboriginal staff and community Elders attend and conduct a smoking ceremony, tell ghost stories and teach traditional song, dance and artwork will authenticate the experience and help bring these rich traditions back for the kids.”

The camp attendees will also get to learn how to fish, make coolamons, start a camp fire, cook a traditional Aboriginal meal and much more.

The Pathfinders Cultural Camp is designed as a contemporary field-based learning camp influenced by traditional cultural practices. All staff and guest presenters at the camp will be Aboriginal, and the teachings will be culturally sensitive and localised to conform to local cultural protocols.

Aboriginal children and young people in out-of-home care throughout New South Wales are invited to attend.

For bookings, pick up locations, costing and other enquiries, call Hilton Naden on 0427 726 559 or email hiltonn@pathfinders.ngo

Pathfinders is a leading not for profit supporting disadvantaged children and families in the New England, North West and Mid North Coast regions. Every week we provide hundreds of families with the help they need to get back on their feet.

Media inquires: Noelia Trujillo noeliat@pathfinders.ngo or 0429371489

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Hilton Naden