The Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership (REAL) Camps, part of the Korin Gamadji Institute’s (KGI) programming, were recently recognised as the Program of the Year at YMCA Victoria’s annual awards night.

The REAL Camp program was developed by the KGI in conjunction with the YMCA and other key stakeholders, including program partner, the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).

REAL Camps focus on the development of young Indigenous leaders and participants are engaged in interactive sessions focusing on leadership, cultural awareness, health and nutrition, goal setting and active citizenship. The participants attend two REAL programs over a 12 month period.

The four-day program is designed for outstanding Aboriginal secondary school students, identified as potential leaders. They are nominated by their schools, as being great students and excellent role models for others in their community.

The KGI, which was opened this year by the Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard in August this year, is based at the ME Bank Centre, at Punt Road Oval, and is a place for young Indigenous people to participate in education and personal development programs.

Belinda Duarte, Director of the KGI, said it was rewarding that such a quality program is delivered out of this exciting new facility.

“We know our participants enjoy the REAL Camps and get a lot out of the program. All the feedback points to the fact we are delivering something really valuable. We are really proud to deliver a program, in conjunction with our partners, that has been recognised in this way,” she said.

“It is a great reward for our partners, who ensure we can deliver this program, including the Victorian Electoral Commission, DEEWR and Dick Smith, who provide wonderful support for the KGI and Richmond’s Indigenous programming more broadly. It is also recognition of the work KGI staff members Luke Murray and Anzack Newman have done, in conjunction with YMCA staff, to make these programs the success they have become.”

Kyralee Murphy-Edwards, who belongs to the Waka Waka and Yorta Yorta/ Dja Dja Wurrung people, said she learnt a lot from her REAL Camp experience around key issues such as respect, teamwork and culture.

‘’We all want to be somebody, have a great future and be great leaders and role models for the next generation of Indigenous kids,’’ she said.

YMCA Koori Leadership Director Nathan Lange said the award was a great way to recognise the importance and success of the program.

“We aim to provide young Koori Leaders with the knowledge and insight to be strong and prudent leaders within their communities now and in the future. And, from our first 18 months, we know there is a fantastic generation of committed young Koori leaders coming up,” Mr Lange said.

Achievements of the REAL Camps include: