Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Promising Practice Profiles

Young Warriors Intervention and Leadership program

Overview

Promising practice focus

The promising feature of this program is the partnership approach to providing a mentoring program that helps to build the capacity of young people to be connected to their culture and community. The outcomes delivered through this approach and through the use of mentors can lead to future community leaders who can facilitate greater community capacity to help support and care for their children.

Delivered by

Anglicare Southern Queensland: A non-Government organisation, and Deadlee Maardars Association: A regional not-for-profit organisation.

www.anglicaresq.org.au

The information provided for this Promising Practice Profile was supplied by the Manager of Counselling & Education Services at Anglicare Southern Queensland.

Service type

Anglicare Southern Queensland work in partnership with Deadlee Maardars Association to run mentoring and leadership camps for young Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander School Children between 10-12 years of age.

Location(s)

Capital City: greater Brisbane North region, QLD.

Description

The Anglicare Southern Queensland Family Support Progam supports the Deadlee Maardars Association (a regional not-for-profit organisation that provides programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young males who live in the greater Brisbane North region) in holding youth leadership camps for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. The Young Warriors Intervention and Leadership program focuses on developing strong leadership skills for youth and also keeping the participants engaged in education. The activites work towards promoting strong social and leadership skills and activities focus around the theme of trust, respect and boundaries.

Each camp invites Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people between the ages of 10-12 in the North Brisbane region to attend a culturally sensitive and empowering camp. During the camps, the young people enjoy a safe environment, learn new skills and build strong positive peer relationships. Activities include fishing, surfing, hiking and cultural experiences. At the end of each day, participants gather for a yarning circle with Elders to reflect and share positive stories. Each camp involves older youth who are encouraged to take on leadership roles during the course of the camp and work with the younger children to teach them life and social skills.

Anglicare provides a trained and qualified "mentor" for each camp who assists the youth leaders in their work with the young people. Each camp is well supported by Elders of the community and is based around culturally sensitve practices and connectedness. This partnership brings together two services to enhance the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the North Brisbane region and ensure their families recieve the support they need.

Funding arrangements

The Deadlee Maardars is responsible for funding the camp, including staffing and resources. Anglicare funds one staff member's wage through Family Support Program (funded by the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) to assist as a mentor during the camp and to attend planning meetings and community events.

Promising practice

MOST promising aspect

The program shows promising practice through the significant support received from community members and the recent requests from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for camps to become available for young females. This has recently been incorporated into the program and females camps are now occuring on a quarterly basis.

Through the partnership, wrap-around support is available to the young people and their families if required. With Anglicare involvement in the camp programs, families are made aware of other available services and supports for themselves and their children. The outcomes of the program will continue to cascade through the community with young people moving through the leadership program to one day become youth leaders and continue with their cultural learnings and connectedness.

Other promising aspects

This program is owned and led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and is based on genuine and well respected partnerships. The camp content is led by the Elders and the Anglicare team ensures interactions use a strengths-based approach, focusing on empowering and building resilence amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. The program is sustainable in the long-term due to the model of practice which includes young people being mentored and supported to become youth leaders on future camps and also within their community. The program promotes community and cultural connectedness and strives to increase the wellbeing of young people and their families. This partnership is highly valued and respected by both parties and regular consultation and feedback is provided to each other. Regular communication between programs is maintained to ensure up-to-date knowledge of the community and its members is maintained. Anglicare team members attend informal community fun days to ensure their support is regular and consistent between camps and the connection to the local community is maintained.

Evidence base and opportunities

While the program was initially developed for young males, its expansion to include young females has demonstrated the value placed in this program by the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The program builds capacity for young people to be connected to culture and community through a mentoring approach. This approach is known to produce positive outcomes for at-risk participants and helps to create community leaders for the future, which in turn contributes to the sustainablility of the program into the longer-term.

A formal evaluation of the program describing strengths would contribute to evidence informed practice and allow for the expansion of this program and the development of other programs based on that evidence.

Cultural relevance

Involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were initially formed by an Anglicare worker who engaged with the Deadlee Maardars through their Indigenous Australian men's program. Engagement strategies for the men's program were based on culturally competent best practice principles by working authentically, developing trust and remaining relationship focused. After working in the community for a period of time, the Anglicare worker was invited to support one of Deadlee Maardars youth camps. This initial invitation was accepted by Anglicare and the camps continue to be supported.

Cultural awareness training was undertaken both formally and informally. In order to further Anglicare's engagement with this community and to support the request for and development of a girls' camp, it became apparent that another staff member would be required to support the camp. The staff member who made the initial engagement spent time with the new Anglicare staff member discussing the particular community's cultural protocols and the most appropriate ways to engage and respond to community Elders. These staff members then met with the Deadlee Maardars community Elders in an informal setting to support sensitive and culturally appropriate engagement. This relationship has been solidified and both staff members have been welcomed and acknowledged by community leaders and families involved with Deadlee Maardars. This relationship continues to be maintained by staff members attending camps, meetings and informal events to maintain a consistent, trusting and authentic relationship based on reliability.

Evaluation

Evaluation status

The program has not been the subject of an evaluation and an evaluation is not planned for the future. However, the President of the Deadlee Maardars follows up with the young people and their families after the completion of the camp. From these discussions, future support for families and the individuals is arranged. Any feedback is then incorporated into the next program to ensure continuous program improvement and community needs are met.

Effectiveness

Demonstrated outcomes

The program has not been the subject of an evaluation and therefore demonstrated outcomes have not been reported in this submission. However, as an example of an outcome from the first female camp, one of the youth leaders commenced study in youth work and does volunteer work experience at a local non-Government organisation. Through her increased self esteem and stronger connections to her community this teenager has been supported to continue her engagement in alternative education and to commence volunteer work experience. This young person and her family continues to recieve support from the Deadlee Maardars and Anglicare and will continue to be a youth leader on future camps.

Other

Profile added13 March 2013
Last updated14 November 2013
 

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