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Our Region, Our People: Meet NPA's young leaders

Published 12 February 2024

Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) young people embark on life-changing leadership camp in Cairns

Young people from the five communities in the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) recently visited Cairns for a leadership camp – and enjoyed every minute!

Embracing new experiences and expanding their horizons, 25 young people from the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) recently travelled to Cairns for an inspiring youth leadership camp. 

The group, aged between 12 and 25, travelled with five Northern Peninsula Area Family and Community Services (NPAFACS) youth team leaders from Bamaga to Redlynch for the camp, which was run by NPAFACS and The Northern Outlook (TNO). 

Remote Alcohol Drug Intervention Outcomes (RADIO) Support Worker Odessa Sabatino said the goal of the leadership camp was to empower the young people, enable resilience and self-leadership, and enhance their worldview. 

“By positively exposing the young people to life outside NPA, they can develop their sense of curiosity and future potential,” Ms Sabatino said. 

Young people from the five communities in the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA)

“The youths enjoyed themselves and had a positive experience. Some of them had never visited Cairns before, and therefore it was an enlightening experience for them.  

“Other young people are now keen to be selected for the next leadership camp because the group returned full of enthusiasm and with good stories for their friends and other youths in the NPA community.” 

Ms Sabatino said the NPA communities had many great role models and elders to guide the young people. 

“However, we are also encouraging them to self-lead and role model good behaviour, practice safe and healthy social and emotional regulation, and practice help and health-seeking behaviours,” she said. 

“The incentive for this trip was to value education and attend school, show respect to teachers, parents, and community members, and actively participate and engage with youth services, such as book club, the Respectful Relationships Youth Group, AOD education, and counselling. 

“This camp presented participants with an opportunity to work as a team and develop skills as a group and team players.  

“It also enabled them to manage time and organise themselves for various activities, budgeting money for shopping trips and excursions, and adaptable behaviour to bigger city norms.” 

Young people from the five communities in the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA)

The NPA FACS youth team staff members also ran activities during the camp, including a yarning circle, myths and legends storytelling, and cultural leadership with each person’s clan’s winds and totems to identify themselves and connect. 

NPA FACS Youth Team Leader – Youth Services Susita Vout said the totem activity, facilitated by youth staff members, showed the group that they are all connected even though they come from different communities. 

The young people agreed. 

“This camp is good because it connects all five communities and we can do group activities with our friends from school who live in different communities,” one told Ms Vout. 

Others enjoyed hiking to the waterfalls and the group activities. They all appreciated having the opportunity to visit a “big city” and said it felt special to be selected. 

Ms Vout said the camp and activities helped the young people develop trust, work together, and bond. But they also got to experience life in the big smoke. 

“On the last day of camp, the Youth Team decided to take the children to the go-karts and laser tag, she said. “They had an awesome time and loved every bit of the camp. They also enjoyed a seafood feast and some shopping.” 

NPA FACS thanked and acknowledged TSRA and Bamaga Enterprise Limited, who contributed to the youth camp to help make it possible for young people of the NPA communities to visit Cairns for the leadership camp. 

The Remote Alcohol Drug Intervention Outcomes (RADIO) program is funded by Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN). 

Last updated: 12 February 2024