Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte) community camp: A whole of community approach

Waltja’s Youth Reconnect (Allan O’Dea) and Family Mental Health (Charles Tako and Ashley Brooking) teams were involved in a community camp out in Santa Teresa (Ltyentye Apurte). The camp out was held at Philipson Bore from Wednesday the 1st of October till Saturday the 4th of October 2014 and was a whole of community event. The camp was held during school holidays with the idea of engaging young people and children in activities to alleviate the boredom experienced by young people that is often associated with school holidays.

Originally, the camp out was planned to be a small event for 7-10 young men aged between 12 and 18. However, the camp was so popular within the community that it took on a whole of community focus that over 50 people attended including elders, families, youth and children.
The idea that it takes a community to raise, strengthen, protect and instill pride into young people was valued by the elders and families of Ltyentye Apurte.

The activities that were held during the camp included a group art workshop, alcohol education, bush trips, bush medicine and hunting. The use of resources such as beer goggles was effective to raise awareness of the effects of intoxication on motor skills and perception whilst also being a fun activity for young people. The teaching of traditional cultural knowledge and practices (bush medicine, spear making and hunting) by female and male elders was evaluated as being important by the community in strengthening collective and individual identities. Whilst, the group art workshops facilitated by Steve Johns was a therapeutic activity teaching young people to observe and paint the surrounding landscape promoting connection to country through art.

The camp out was done in partnership with a number of people and organisations from Ltyentye Apurte. A big thank you and shout out to Mia Mulladad (Elder, traditional healer, Waltja Director and School attendance officer), Steve Johns (counselor from the Santa Teresa Health Centre), Mosiana Johns (AAA Corporation), Stanislau (Shorty) Mulladad (Elder), MacDonnell Shire Sport and Recreation team for lending some swags and Catholic Care who provided funds for the majority of the food on the camp.

Overall, the camp out was a great success with lots of positive feedback from community members, families and young people.

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