The Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership (REAL) Program is a key fixture at Korin Gamadji Institute’s. The REAL program is a culturally responsive best practice leadership program for Indigenous youth from years 7-12. Developed by Indigenous experts, the REAL program curriculum is strengths-based and designed around the age and experience of participants.
Last month KGI hosted our Year 11 & 12 REAL Program, a residential experience that brought 15 strong leaders to Melbourne for 3 days. Participants came from all over the state, from as far as Mildura to the outer suburbs of Melbourne. The Swinburne Centre at Punt Road Oval hosted the overnight camp.
On arrival, the program kicked off with a short walk to the home of football, the MCG, and watched the mighty Tigers defeat West Coast in a high scoring clash. With the camp being based around KGI’s three key pillars – leadership, culture, and social and emotional wellbeing – it was great to see the social element unfolding straight away as the group came together. The game provided a great icebreaker for those who didn’t know one another. Post-match the group braved the fresh Melbourne conditions and ventured to the Royal Botanical Gardens where enjoyed Lightscape, an amazing light display featuring luminous walkways and vistas.
The energetic and enthusiastic culture of the group was prevalent throughout the camp, and this shone through on a busy day two. We were fortunate that the camp fell in NADOIC Week, and the group were able to attend the flag raising event hosted at Federation Square. We heard from many young Indigenous leaders while at the event, sharing their own perspective on the NADOIC theme – Get up, Stand up, Show up!
While in Federation Square we had the privilege to explore the Koorie Heritage Trust. The young leaders got an insight into some of the tools and techniques that were used to hunt, and also learnt about how important and unique a possum skin cloak was to different people.
Day two finished with some fun activities being bowling and an escape room. The escape room proved to be a great opportunity for participants to display their leadership and teamwork skills, while having fun trying to beat the clock to escape their chosen room.
The last day we were honoured to have Dr Justin Trounson come and speak with our young leaders on social and emotional wellbeing. Dr Justin is one of very few Indigenous psychologists in Australia, and a highly valued member of the KGI team. We were very lucky to have him along to share his knowledge with the group. It was a fantastic session and a great opportunity for the group to engage in positive conversation and learn about maintaining a healthy mindset.
Overall, the program was filled with fun, great conversations and powerful learnings. Participants gained valuable insights, not only from key facilitators but from each other. The KGI team were very impressed with how respectful and mature the group were and commend the participants for bringing a positive attitude and an open mindset.
The REAL Program will continue to be rolled out over the remainder of the year with our Year 9 & 10 Program coming up next over the September school holidays.