2016 KOOL KIDS CLUB NEWS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Kool Kids Bus Launch
Weaves’ Kool Kids Club Launched the New Kool Kids Bus on Tuesday. We were lucky enough to be able to thank many of the community orgnisations, artists’ and family members yesterday and recognise them for their contribution to the project and to the Kool Kids Club.This included Nick Dettmann from The Buck Foundation, Nicola Powell from Clovelly Community Bendigo Bank, Mayor of Randwick Noel D’Souza, Tania Krasinski Randwick Council, Artist Angela Yeened, Weave graphic designer Katie Sharman and community Elders Jill and Helen.
We were lucky enough to work with local artists' Angela Yeened, Jacquelyn Lowe and also 20 Kool Kids, together they created the design for the bus. Weave Kool Kids also worked with anincredible group of grandmothers and elders. As part of the project we drew outlines of all of these incredible women's hands and we have used each handprint as part of the new bus design. All the kid’s drawings are within the hands of their grandparents and the elders of their community. We think this is pretty special
The elders helped us with contributing to design ideas and using appropriate imagery that connect to the community in which we work in. Two of the grandmothers launched the bus today with cutting the blue ribbon.
“ Thank you Kool Kids my grandchildren would not have had the opportunities that they have had and support without your program.” Kool Kids Grandmother with three children in her care
Katie Sharman from Weave put all the designs together and was so patient with all the changes and ideas we had. A huge thank you to Katie. A thank you also to Factory One who wrapped the design around the bus and made the colours so vibrant and alive. We feel the design is a representation of the community in which we live and we are so excited that the bus is now a moving art working the community.Thank you to the Buck Foundation for enabling us to purchase this new bus and also to Clovelly Community Bendigo Bank to contributing to this project.
All the logos on the bus are of services that make a huge contribution to the Kool Kids Program and are part of the Weave family. This is All Sorts Fitness and Wellbeing Centre, Surfing NSW, Surf Camp Australia, Stand Up, Randwick Council, Clovelly Bendigo Community Bank and The Buck Foundation,
A big thank you also toeveryone from the Weave Team that also came to be part of the day.
Qantas Assure Sydney Women’s Surfing Pro Event
This event was held at North Cronulla Beach from Thursday 3rd November – Sunday 6th December 2016. This time we were fortunate enough to watch the event from the Qantas VIP Marquee. On Sunday 6th November 2016 the Kool Kids bus picked up three Kool Kids plus local surfer and pioneer of Maroubra women surfers, Sue Moore. The kids are part of our Aboriginal Surfing Program which is proudly supported by Surfing NSW.
Again we rubbed shoulders with sporting greats from surfing, cricket, football and surf iron women which was a huge bonus about attending as a VIP. The kids enjoyed a healthy lunch, snacks, and the best view in town to watch the surfing event. Our Kool Kids were full of excitement and confidence as they approached women pro-surfers Sally Fitzgibbons, Sage Erickson (California), Jessi Miley-Dyer (Women’s WSL Commissioner) and the winner of the event Silvana Lima from Brazil. All these amazing women gave their time to our kids and listened intently while they explained Weave Survival tips & generally yarned about surfing. The day was a huge hit within the surfing community and we can’t thank The Sally Fitzgibbons Foundation enough for the invitation to be part of this inspiring event.
The team at Surfing NSW - Claire, Hayley and Luke - we say a huge thank you for thinking of us here at Weave’s Kool Kids Club. We had an amazing time at both events and your continued support to get kids surfing and staying safe at the beach is invaluable.
Friday – Good Vibrations Program
During the last termof 2016, Kool Kids Club ran an 8 week Good Vibrations Program out at La Perouse school hall every Friday.Each week the kids worked tirelessly on a rap song with the Kool Kids Activities workers Evie & Beau as well as having special guests Kobie Duncan and Trei Stewart who helped out with the kids special project.
This project consisted of fun games & icebreakers, song writing, singing and rapping. All kids thoroughly enjoyed the program and loved mixing it up with new and exciting activities each afternoon.
By the end of the last week of this program, Dwayne Carr and Stacey Lyons had rehearsed their raps with Beau Foster and were fortunate enough to perform at the local Duffy Park Family Fun Day, which was held on Friday 9th December at Duffy’s Corner. Many locals and families came down and showed their support to the event and had a fantastic afternoon. We had so much lovely feedback from the boy’s performance on the day.
We are all so proud of all the kid’s efforts this year. It truly has been a spectacular one!
Balladoran Camp Report 2016
During the weekend of Friday 25th, Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th Nov, we took ten of our Kool Kids and two workers and trei as a volunteer out along the countryside to Balladoran Cultural Camp experience. We would like to thank the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Barnardos Family Referral Serviceand Future Generation Investment Co for making this camp possible and for believing in these incredible young people. Friday morning Beau, Matt, Lucy & Trei were up early excited and packing the buses getting ready to pick the kids up to hit the road to Wellington All the kids were up early waiting with their gear and were super keen to get on the bus! We were well and truly on the road by 9.00am heading to Bathurst where we stopped for a break to have our sandwiches and the kids had a quick stretch and played a little game of touch footy. Unfortunately, we were running a bit late with time and didn’t make the Wellington Caves but we still made the time to pull over and had some fun and a stretch looking at some leftover scrap metal art works which was interesting.
Everyone jumped back on the bus and we headed for our final destination, Uncle Ralph Naden’s Balladoran Cultural Camp where he welcomed us with open arms. The kids and workers unpacked the buses as Uncle Ralph and his daughter Kim warmly greeted us. Once everyone was settled in we went over some of the rules of the camp with Uncle Ralph. One of the important rules was ‘Yindayamarra’ which means RESPECT in Wiradjuri language. We settled in the kitchen and had some chicken, pasta salad and potato salad for dinner. Once everyone was rugged up and had a few yarns around the fire, we were ready for bed and lights were out by 10pm.
The next morning, some of the boys were up at the crack of dawn! (5.30am to be exact) Uncle Ralph was already up preparing the cereal and had eggs and bacon sizzling away for everyone. The kids were extremely happy and very satisfied to start the day off with a big breakfast. After breakfast we met a couple of Uncle Ralph’s grandchildren and they did a little performance for us showing their deadly skills and talent, then we walked through Uncle Ralph’s museum and he showed us all the Indigenous weapons, tools and photos. After that we took off out to the bush where we threw spears at fake emu’s and listened to different stories. We also visited one of the ceremonial grounds for the men’s business. We all walked back to the campsite before we had some lunch/snacks. Uncle Ralph also took us for a drive all around his land and showed us his different properties, we got to see lots of the incredible nature, its such a beautiful land and community. We headed back to camp and cooked up a BBQ and Uncle Ralph made us some Johnny Cakes.
After we had something to eat we headed out to the lovely quite town of Dubbo and visited the aquatic centre for a couple of hours, the boys had a cracker of a time playing water footy! It was all teeth and gums having a laugh and they even had table tennis and a basketball hoop! We all had a go each of going down the waterslides, which was fun. We then took off into town bought some food for lunch and went back to Balladoran and stuffed all of our faces. We gave the boys some free time and played a game called ‘CAMOUFLAGE’ which is a very fun game for all ages! Uncle Ralph and me went and collected some firewood and also set up a little trick for the scary walk for the boys. When we got back to camp we started up the fire and sat around and had a big yarn and also told some scary stories, then it was off into the dark bush. We all had our torches, the boys were on edge walking through some scary areas and some of the stories we heard about the area. Uncle Ralph also showed us an old haunted house. After the fun we headed back to camp where Uncle Ralph made some delicious curry dinner for us and had some dampa for dipping and it was beautiful! Then by 10pm it was off to bed.
Next morning when we all got up, all the workers noticed Dan Haworth Shareef cleaned up the Kool Kids bus by his self and he even put a cold bottle of water on each seat for everyone, he showed great initiative and respect towards the workers and Kool Kids, and he also showed he can really be a Switch Leader. Originally we planned to head out to Dubbo’s PCYC and have a game of basketball or footy but unfortunately it was such a busy morning I lost track of time and we missed out on our time slot but it didn’t stop us from going out and making our own fun and plus we got to spend more precious time with Uncle Ralph. We all sat together and had a big yarn with the group and also spoke about our highlights of the camp. My highlight was just experiencing the time away and learning all the different things about men’s business and also spending the time with all my switch boys, Matt, Uncle Ralph and Trei. I also enjoyed setting up the little scary track the night before and sharing a laugh with team. We presented Uncle Ralph with a gift on behalf of the Switch Leaders and the Kool Kids and he was very appreciative with the gift and said
“I’m going to put this fulla with the Kool Kids boomerang inside the museum”
This is an awesome thing for him to do, so everyone that walks through there can see both of the gifts from us. After our little presentation we all got in the bus and it was on the road again back to our beloved community. The trip home was a little bit hectic considering the little detours we took without noticing, we were therefore a little behind schedule but all the boys co-operated so well and we still enjoyed the trip back. We played the funniest games to keep ourselves occupied such as ‘making up puns’ ‘riddle’s’ ‘imagination game’ and ‘general knowledge trivia’ it was all laughs and smiles just the way the Kool Kids like to keep it. We took a couple breaks here and there, we also made a quick stop in the Blue Mountains and get some fish and chips which everyone devoured. After dinner it was back on the road, eventually getting back into Sydney. We did all the drop homes and the parents were very nice and cool about the boys being dropped home a little after schedule. I had a ball with the team and Uncle Ralph and I would do that camp all over again! Such a lovely community and country filled with lovely people who made us all feel very welcomed.
I would also like to take this time to thank the all the parents for letting their children come on this camp with the team. I would also like to say a big thank you to Lucy, Mel & Evie with supporting me to get this camp up and running, I could not have done it without you all.
Kool Kids Outreach Cultural Program
During Term 3 the Kool Kids Club ran an 8 week Cultural Outreach Program out at La Perouse Public School Hall every Friday.
Over the duration of the program, the kids were fortunate to have different local Aboriginal mentors come in and work along side Keenan & Evie throughout the weeks. The kids got to experience different activities including fun games, weaving with Tjanara Talbot, designing Aboriginal artefacts, story-telling, and the kids also had opportunities to take part in a few adventurous bush walks, one being with Timmy Ella which the kids and the workers absolutely loved exploring and learning about the significant history of La Perouse before and after the settlement of Captain Cook.
At the beginning of every program, the kids have to create rules and discuss the importance of each rule so that they themselves take ownership of the rules and their behaviour before every program.
We also ran a ‘Respect’ activity, which allowed the kids to openly discuss the importance of respect within their families, schools and communities and also talked about their local heroes – who were the people they looked up to and why. It definitely helped with the kid’s engagement within the program, and it is so great to see their little faces light up when they are learning about their beautiful ancient culture.
We would like to thank the families & La Perouse Public School for allowing us to use their hall each Friday afternoon. Also a massive thank you to Tjanara Talbot and Timmy Ella for sharing your invaluable knowledge with us.
Evie & The Kool Kids Team
Namatjira Program Term 3 2016
On Monday we celebrated the final day for the Namatjira program for Term 3 2016. The Namatjira program is a special program to be a part of, it is reaching kids in their community and teaching them fun and new ways to be healthy.
The program focused on making healthy smoothies, art and cooking. It is a lot of fun each week to see the kids so enthusiastic to prepare and cook healthy meals. Hearing feedback that the kids now want to help cook at home is what this program is all about.
At the celebration BBQ, there was a magician to entertain the kids and we then awarded all the kids certificates for their efforts. Through South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Funding, Weave Kool Kids Club were able to give every family a blender so they can continue to make healthy smoothies at home. Each family also received a Yhunger cook book so they can keep cooking the nutritious meals they learnt about through the program. Myna Hua the manager of the Health promotion Service also attended the celebration.
All the community came along to celebrate and one thing that stood out for me was a comment that a community member made which was that 'Kool Kids have been here from the start'. As a student coming into the Kool Kids Club to learn, I think this stood out for me because it demonstrated what an impact the Namatjira program is having in the community and how important and special that is.
One mother also made a comment about Kool Kids Worker Beau " I want to thank Beau for being a positive male role model for our kids, you do such an amazing job for our kids'
I would like to say a big thank you to Mani and Nikkie who volunteer and help each week.They both helped the programs run smoothly each week, thank you so much for your dedication. Keenan Mundine for all the work you have put into setting up this project. I would also like to thank Nikkie from UNSW Community Development who has introduced lots of new workshops and has connected Auntie Maxine and Brendon from Botanical gardens to the program. This has been a fantastic partnership program with University of New South Wales Community Development project, Randwick Council and South Eastern Sydney Local health District. This is what community is all about.
Health Kick program Term 3
Weave's Kool Kids club has been doing a Health Kick Program at All Sorts Fitness and Wellbeing centre. The All Sorts team has provided bike classes; training programs and we even got to connect with their indoor soccer program. The kids love All Sorts and feel like they are so welcome and part of the family.
When we arrived yesterday not only the All Sorts team but also Brad Hardman the incredible boxer that has mentored so many young people welcomed us. Kobie and Kyra were there too and were having a training session with Brad. Both Kyra and Kobie have come through the Weave's Kool Kids Program and now they are role modeling being healthy and living out their dreams and they are an inspiration to all the young Kool Kids coming through.
Also to our surprise Adele from All Sorts had organised to have Kool Kids Club Hoodies with the kids and staff names on the back. Words cannot describe how excited and thankful the kids were. The team was inundated with texts massages last night from all the families saying that they were so grateful for the super Kool Gift.
Adele and the All Sorts Team have been investing and contributing to the Weave's Kool Kids for over 9 years. They believe in the kids and are constantly creating opportunities for them to strive for their dreams. They are part of the Weave Family and words really cannot describe how grateful we are for everything you do for us.
' I can't believe Adele still remembered me, she is such a great person, she goes that step further for our community' Beau Foster Aboriginal Activity Worker
'All the staff at All Sorts were incredible with the Kool Kids. It's fantastic to see that a big business understands what the Kool Kids Club is doing and is enthusiastic to be a part of it.' Emily West Student placement
" The team and Adele at All Sorts Fitness & Wellbeing are so passionate about what we do at Kool Kids, I'm inspired by the opportunity Adele creates for our kids, switch leaders and community members. The kids love going to All Sorts for program, to have Adele pushing for Kool Kids to be part of the All Sorts Family is what is important about our community" Melissa Leaudais Kool Kids Activity Worker/Caseworker
Wooden Clock Making Program Term 3, 2016
During Term 3 the Kool Kids buses journeyed to The Wood Turners shed at Malabar with a full crew of 12 eager kids ready to work some magic. Each week Phil, from the Wood Turners, awaited our arrival while he set up the machinery and prepared the materials for the kids. This is the second successful program Weave’s Kool Kids have worked on with Phil at the Wood Turners Shed.
Phil inspired the kids with pictures of wooden clocks to get their minds thinking outside the square. After the first week the team had decided on a shape & theme for their individual clocks.
With Phil’s assistance, the kids transformed a square piece of wood into their very own design. They operated the electric saw, sanders and other cutting equipment until they were happy with the shape of the clock. The team were also given the option to add artwork to the wood.
The kids excelled, with designs ranging from painted Aboriginal Flags, a Pug, a watermelon, dream catchers and some even burnt the artwork into the wood. Once the artwork had been completed we added a clear protective gloss to protect the wood and give it shine. Our final task was adding the clock mechanisms and the battery. The clocks ticked away nicely & a few kids were mighty proud of themselves!
On our final day of program we cooked up a BBQ to celebrate the kid’s achievements. Parents & friends joined us to see the finished products & all the hard work the kids had put in. Our facilitator, Phil, personally made 3 pens in red & green patterns which he gave out to kids who received the special awards. Well done to Kelly, Makaylah & Robbie for your dedication to the program. Kool Kids, you excelled beyond expectation once again. Congratulations on finishing your clocks! Good luck reading analogue time & now you have no excuse to be late for school (well one less excuse anyway)!!
Thank you to Phil, the Wood Turners & Kooloora Community Centre for supporting this program. Phil you are an amazing man & we are very thankful to you for sharing your love of wood work with our Kool Kids.
We would like to say a massive thank you to, the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Barnardos Family Referral Service for investing in this program, We are extremely grateful for our kids to have this opportunity.
Kids Swim Squad Program Term 3
Every term, during each Monday afternoon the Kool Kids Swim Squad have the wonderful opportunity to participate in a 1 hour intense swimming lesson at All Sorts Pool with Christine May, who has been working and coaching our kids for over 8 years.
At the beginning of every program, the kids have to create rules on a board and discuss the importance of each rule so that they themselves take ownership of the rules and their behaviour before every program.
Each week the kids learnt about water safety, how to swim different strokes and swam with flippers to help build strength in their legs. By the end of week 6 the kids were tested whether or not they could swim 50 metres by timing them while racing each other in the water.
There were a few new younger kids who participated in the program for the first time who started out swimming with a foam noodle, then a paddle board and eventually was able to tread water and swim independently by then end of the program which was a massive success!
Majority of kids swam really well and thoroughly enjoyed the program, we saw a huge change in their enthusiasm and attitude towards the workers and each other. The Swim Squad has been a great program for the kids to learn not only about swimming but also respect, boundaries and discipline.
We are super keen for next term!
On behalf of Weave Kool Kids Club we would like to thank Christine May for her consistent dedication in helping nurture our kids abilities in learning how to swim and gaining confidence in the water each term. As well as David, Adele & the fabulous All Sorts team for allowing our kids to have this amazing opportunity.
Thank you for providing us with a swimming lane at All Sorts Pool each term. We are extremely grateful.
Evie, Matt & The Kool Kids Team
Gondwana Choir Program Term 3 2016
Kool Kids were very fortunate to be apart of the Inner City Gondwana Choir over Term 2 and Term 3 this year.
During the program the girls had such an incredible opportunity to learn from Gondwana Choir’s very own artistic Director Lyn Williams and professional instructors. The choir learnt many songs in language and rehearsed every Tuesday. The program was facilitated by Gondwana Staff and each week the program ran within Alexandria Park Commuity School Junior Campus.
Over the duration of their time participating in this program the girls had fantastic performance opportunities and attended camps, which allowed the girls to connect with the other choirs from Campbelltown and Mt Druitt. The girls were actively involved with hip-hop dance classes, singing and a lot of other fun activities over the three-day camp.
On behalf of Weave & Kool Kids Club we would like to thank Lyn Williams, Erica Byrne and the Gondwana Team for providing our kids with this amazing experience. It was so beautiful to see their confidence blossom and witness their positive self-esteem and hear their angelic voices soar to new heights!It has been so rewarding working with these beautiful girls.
Evie & The Kool Kids Team
Stand up Switch camp 2016
A huge thank you once again for the incredible Stand up team of volunteers for running our Switch Camp. You are creating life changing opportunities for the young people that we work with. Thank you for being part of the Weave family.
What an amazing start to the Stand Up camp with an icebreaker called bang. We all stood in a circle and a name was called and the people either side had to draw their imaginary gun and be the first to shoot, the one who lost was out. All the kids had fun and really enjoyed the game.
After the icebreaker we headed of into the city to have lunch and a game of basketball and a swim at Phillip-Cook pool. All the Switch leaders, Stand up volunteers as well as the Kool Kids got together and had a game of mixed basketball. After the basket the Switch leaders had a swim and it was back to camp.
Back at camp the kids where a little tired after playing basketball and swimming but we moved straight into another activity. The activity was a roleplaying activity based on conflict resolution where the kids acted out a scene and then responded to the situation in two different ways.
One way to respond was to ague, yell and call names but the other response was more considerate and understanding. We arrived to the understanding that people involved in the situation need to come to a mutual understanding in resolving the issue, so they both feel heard and satisfied.
The kids all got involved and used props to dress up and get into character especially our newest member to the Kool Kids team Beau.
Once we finished with the roleplaying activity we were off to the Big Kitchen to prepare dinner. We made pizzas, corn fritters and apple crumble. Everybody got involved and got their hands dirty and learnt new cooking skillsThe kids were excited to be in an industrial kitchen and see the big ovens and mixers. The time spent at the Big Kitchen was a hit as always.
We than walked back to the house to hang out, and we played some serious knee football upstairs before everyone crashed out after such a fun filled day.
The next morning we were all up nice and early to have some breakfast, packed everything up and sat in on one of the activities. We drove over to Tempe to go Rock Climbing, where both the kids and staff where challenged and worked together in pairs and teams encouraging one another.
We had a surprise visit from the lovely Lucy, Siobhan and the head of Family and Community Services. Beau gave Mr Michael Coutts-Trotter some pointers on how to best scale the wall as he climbed in his suit.
"It was great to see all the kids and staff having fun and doing what Kool Kids do best and represent our community & the Weave family!"
One of my highlights was watching many of the kids and workers overcome their fears of tight small spaces and crawl and manoeuvre their way through the treacherous, man made, pitch black tunnels behind the rock climbing wall. After another delicious lunch at Tempe provided by Stand Up, we headed back to Waverly to sit in on the final activity before finishing off with a huge game of touch Footy.
On behalf of Switch and Staff and Kool kids, thank you Stand Up for organising and running such an incredible camp! Thank you for the effort you put into every activity, and for the love you pour into the kids.
Weave Kool Kids & The Australian Ballet
Holiday Program July 2016.
During the second week of the July school holidays from Monday 11th through to Thursday 14th, Weave’s combined Kool Kids Club from the inner city, Redfern, Waterloo, Maroubra and La Perouse areas, had a very special opportunity to partner with the Australian Ballet.
Over the four days, the girls consistently rehearsed modern, contemporary group ballet performances with professional dancers/mentors from The Australian Ballet whom were absolutely amazing in helping our girls engage and perform at their highest ability.
The program was held at the COMMUNE in Bourke St, Waterloo. The beautiful venue made the perfect backdrop for our awesome photographer Tristan who kindly joined and captured these magical moments for us. As well as having the Australian Ballet programs very own cinema photographer who captured the whole process and the big performance as well, it was such an incredible experience for the girls and they loved it!
Before their big showcase, the girls were taken down to the skate park rank at the main Weave office building, where they posed up proudly with their shirts on that they had made during the program. The girls were photographed with the Australian Ballet cast who were elegantly dressed in their performance costumes all ready to go for the show.
We had many Weave supporters, friends & families come along to watch the girls perform. It was so great to see so many familiar faces attend. On behalf of Weave Kool Kids Club we would like to say a huge and sincere thank you to the Australian Ballet for partnering with Weave to produce this fantastic program for our kids.
Thank you to all the amazing staff from Weave who participated and helped out during the four days, as well as Tristan for coming down and taking the time out of your busy schedule to help capture those special moments and for the gorgeous photos. Last but not least thank you to all the incredible families who came out and made it super special! The girls did us all proud.
Weaves' Kool Kids Historic Performance
A Historic Moment on Saturday the 9th of July as Weaves' Kool Kids Club opened the Waratahs game at Moore Park on Saturday night the 9th of July as part of NAIDOC week. The performance is significant as the New South Wales Waratahs has not done a cultural round before.
Here is a link to a video that captures the Weave Kool Kids dancers
The dancers From Weaves' Kool Kids Club danced to a story about the Waratah from the Biripi people told by Aboriginal elder Aunty Ally Golding. The choreography is a collaborative process between Calita Murray a Dhurug woman and Kerry Johnson a Wiradjuri women and it's songs are by Matthew Doyle.
The kids all came together every Friday afternoon to meet at La Perouse Primary School to practice in the School hall for an hour after school. The kids who attended came from different primary schools in the Eastern Suburbs ranging in age groups from 7 to 17. It was also so great to see that there was a mix of boys and girls wanting to be a part of this special occasion.
Some of the kids had not ever done a traditional Indigenous dance before and some have, they were all excited to be a part of this special opportunity to showcase their culture.
In the change room before the big dance the group stood in a circle holding hands painted up in ochre and said how proud they were to represent their culture, community and to represent their families.
Words cannot describe what it was like to see 28 children and 10 community members open the game on the field knowing that over 60 family members were in the audience.
The kids were well rehearsed and very respectful. It was such a good example of how arts and cultural events have a huge impact of reinforcing traditional Indigenous culture , Identity and connection to land. The young people were so proud to represent the community and all their parents were there to watch them dance.
This has been a community effort with so many people involved. We would like to say a few very special thank you to the following people.
• Kyle Lyons who had the contact at the Waratahs, which gave the kids the opportunity
• Calita Murray who has been part of this project from start to finish and has not only done the choreography with Kerry Jonhson but as helped with costumes, making the waratahs and is performing and has worked on everything leading up to this amazing event.
• Keenan Mundine, Evie Willie and Beau Foster from the Weaves' Kool Kids Team for your hard work and dedication to this project.
• La Perouse Public School for letting us use your school hall
• Natalie Steele and the waratahs for giving us the opportunity to dance and providing tickets for families to attend
• Kerry Johnson for helping with choreography and performing.
• Songs by Matt Doyle
• Aunty Ally Golding for telling the story, performing and coming and helping the children on programs.
• Young community members that will be performing Beau Foster, Akeisha Kelly, Kirsty Beller, and Allirah Golding, thank you for your dedication to this project and being such incredible role models for the children.
• Dean Kelly for collecting our cultural resources (ochre, sticks, feathers etc).
• Selina Brown the AEO from Lapa school helping to make the waratah sticks.
• Pauline Beller AEO from Chilfley Public who has help every week
• Kids costumers were made with huge thanks to Paula Sisian-Turnball and Calita Murray
• Adults costumes made with huge thank to Maria Pender
• Mardi Dilies from Weave for helping with media for the night
• Benny Edwards for capturing the night for us on film
• Waverley council and Ben and Michelle from the Bondi Pavilion recording studio for putting the music together
• A Big Thank you to all the local families that have been involved dropping and picking their kids up and supporting this fantastic project.
• We would like to say a massive thank you to, the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Randwick City Council for investing in thisprogram, We are extremely grateful for our kids to have this opportunity.
Karate Program Term 2 2016
During term 2 Weave’s Kool Kids Club returned to Maroubra Kyokushin Karate Doe-Jo to complete an 8 week program with Eva. Throughout the term the kids were taught basic karate techniques as an introduction to karate. Each Thursday, our instructor Eva, waited patiently for the Kool Kids bus to arrive. The kids were super excited to release energy and learn new moves to show off to their mates.
Each week we started with a basic warm up as the group counted out loud, in Japanese, the moves from 1 to 10. Following the warm up we completed drills in kicking, blocking and punching. Eva was sure to remind the kids that the skills learnt are self-defence and strengthening, and are not to be used at school on their mates.
We had a consistent group who engaged well and enjoyed the program. Eva’s teaching style was a great fit which made the program such a success. On our last day families and friends attended the Doe-Jo to see the kids in action. Thank you to all who attended to see the kids shine. Congratulations to Ariana, Isaac and Thomas who received a special award during the presentation.
Kool Kids were very fortunate to have Jono return for this program and his positive outlook was contagious. Thanks Jono for your hard work, you’ll be missed once again.
A big thank you to our instructor’s Eva and Tracey, we hope to see you again for future program. Well done Kool Kids! OUSE
Mel Kool Kids Activity Worker
Sydney Story Factory TERM 2
The program was a huge success. The Kool Kids Team were so proud of the kids completing their stories and being proud to share them. In my four years at Kool Kids I have never seen so many parents and family members attend our final day of program, this is a credit to the Sydney Story Factory and the volunteers at Sydney Story Factory.
The books look great and something the children will keep forever.
AJ our Switch leader for the Team also came every week and was an incredible role model for the Kool Kids. Thank you AJ you are going places.
Early Morning Fitness Term 2 2016
With the winter months upon us we headed back to First Grade Fitness for our early morning workout with Scott Geddes. It was still dark when the bus arrived from 6.30am on Monday mornings to pick the girls up. The cold weather made it tough but in true Kool Kids style the kids turned up ready and willing to get fit. With the year 10 formal approaching the older girls had a goal to work towards. We had a few new members this term for their first time in a gym in a training group, so well done crew on committing to the program. Breakfast at Maroubra beach was a great way to reflect on the workout each week and also a perfect start to the day.
The program was a success once again with the kids feeling healthier and fitter.
Thank you to Scott and Erin at First Grade Fitness.
See you back in term 3 to do it all again. As we say “sweat is your fat crying”!
Term 2 Swimming
"We had another great term of Swimming at All Sorts with four new Kool Kids joining the team. Christine May did an INCREDIBLE job teaching the kids to swim, and the results over the 8 weeks were astounding!
My highlight was watching two of the youngest and newest members of the team go from not being able to swim at all and needing a noodle to stay afloat, to being able to do laps with the rest of the group without having to hold on to the lane rope.
Seeing the confidence and excitement in both of their eyes when they were doing laps on their own was priceless!
The love, passion and dedication that Christine May pours into the swim team each term is amazing! She is a Kool Kids hero and well loved by all the kids.
Its always a pleasure working alongside the beautiful Evie, I'm looking forward to the next term."
Gondwana Choir Term 2 2016
Just thought I would share this great news about the Indigenous Gondwana Program which has been running this term for the first time ever with Kool Kids.
I must say the girls that have been participating in this program have gone from strength to strength and have gained so much confidence with their singing ability and performance.
We ran an intensive and interactive 8 week program at Alexandria Community Junior Campus with Gondwana Choirs and they also recently went on their first camp with the Choir to Chatswood on Friday 27th- Sunday 29th May, which was also combined with the Mt Druitt and Campbelltown Choirs. The girls had a great time!
We are extremely grateful and would like to thank the incredible Director Lynn Williams and the whole Gondwana Team for your passion and dedication in providing such a fantastic program for the kids to learn songs in language, to be proud of singing and representing their culture at the same time.
We are looking forward to hopefully running it again next term!
Here's a snippet from The Children's Choir Manager Erica Byrne:
The camp was held at Naamaroo Uniting Conference Centre and during the course of the weekend, choristers worked with Conductors Lyn Williams OAM, Liz Vierboom, Atalya Masi and pianist and co-conductor Jem Harding.
The choristers extended themselves musically and finished the camp with a performance at the Maritime Mueseum along with the Sydney Children’s Choirs choir. During the weekend, the choristers also took part in dance and cultural workshops with sisters Majeda-Mo and Xing-Yee Beatty. The concert was a great success with approximately 400 people in attendance. Gondwana is extremely excited and proud especially of our newly formed Inner Sydney Gondwana Indigenous Children’s Choir.
Media on Weaves' Kool Kids Club
As we reach the 25 year anniversary of the Royal Commission's Inquiry into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, we are proud of our Aboriginal leaders and advocates Beau and Keenan for speaking out and proving that change is possible.
Yesterday they featured on the front cover of the Sydney Morning Herald and last night, Weave's work and the impact our programs are having was highlighted on Stan Grant's show, The Point on NITV.
Programs like Weave Kool Kids Club have a track record in creating change and saving tax payers money by diverting kids from the criminal justice system and creating meaningful outcomes for children, young people and communities.
Thank you for your support for the program through the IAS. The program is making a big difference and supporting the growth and development of hundreds of children and young people like Beau and Keenan.
Here is a link to the SMH story:
And a link to The Point with Stan Grant on NITV last night:
2016 Switch Camp
Each January for the past few years we have had a “Switch transition Camp.” The three-day camp provides practical tools for the year 7 students, on how to overcome obstacles, work through problems and different situations. The camp helps the young people to better manage their time for their new journey into high school and puberty.
The camp was full of powerful, well thought out workshops, aimed at hot topics and issues in high school. The topics included bullying, building self esteem, managing time and coping with stress and change. There were also activities like canoeing, high ropes, raft building and the flying fox that helped build resilience, brought about great team work and helped some kids and workers overcome fears.
We arrived at Camp Womberoo with 11 excited kids at around lunch time, Wednesday morning. The Stand Up team were all waiting to greet us and welcome the Switch, and we all sat down for an introduction and the first incredible workshop.
Afterwards we had some lunch and headed off to the high ropes course, where both workers and kids were challenged to step outside their comfort zone and little Carmen really shined. We finished the night off with a campfire, some marshmallows and a nice chat.
Thursday flew by with more great workshops that really engaged the kids, provoked thought and discussion and I believe helped equip many of the kids with powerful tools for their lives. We also went canoeing which was another high light. Everyone except our fantastic OEG worker Ainsley ended up in the water.
Later on in the after noon, the boys finally took out
the gold trophy for the raft building competition after many years of tragic ending to rafts built by the boys and Matt in the past.
We finished offthe night with the annual talent quest where young Carla’s confidence and talent was priceless.
On behalf of the Switch Kids and Workers at Kool Kids Club we would like to send a thank you to Stand Up for organising, planning, and running such an incredible camp, and for sacrificing your time, money and energy to invest in these kids.
We love and appreciate you all
Kool Kids Win an Award
KidzFlicks, The Sydney International Festival of Films by Children
Weave’s very own Kool Kids Club have some very exciting news to share!
Last night we had a small group of Kool Kids and their families attend a special red carpet event to perform their song ‘Be Kind to One Another’ at the annual 5th KidzFlicks, Awards night which was held at Event Cinemas in Bondi Junction.
Last year Kool Kids were the winning recipients for two awards, from the Australian Guild of Screen Composers for Best Film Score for their anti-bullying song ‘Stop Walk Away and Tell Somebody’ & also for the Blackfella Films Award for Best Indigenous Film by a Child for their incredible film ‘Journey’
This year they were nominated once again and surprisingly last night they won the award AGAIN for Best Film Score by a Child for their song ‘Be Kind to One Another’.
This song was written by the kids, recorded at the studio in Redfern Community Centre with Ted the Engineer and filmed in Redfern and various other locations in the city during our
Music & Message Making Program last year. With the help of our beautiful friend Alex from Bauerbirds who put in many hours of hard work, preparation and dedication, we were able to capture and produce such an awesome song and video! We are so grateful to have had you come along and capture the kids and those lovely moments Alex.
The whole intention of the song was to focus on our anti-bullying campaign ‘Kool Kids Say No to Bullying’ and to basically encourage the kids with the simple message to be kind to one and other. These simple ideas however, happen to have an amazing and purposeful reaction to not only the kids themselves but other young people in different schools and communities abroad. We are extremely thankful for our hard work
ing and passionate team of workers, our incredible volunteers, our partnerships, supporters, families and community members who consistently show their support and help out with our programs to produce MAGIC like this for our kids, with their very own work.
Yes I call it magic! Because beautiful opportunities continue to present themselves time and time again for our kids to experience, to grow, to learn, to strive and ultimately gain so much confidence and increases their self-esteem to know that if they put their minds to AYNTHING they can do it.
Last night (like many) was an extremely emotional moment for us as Kool Kids Workers. Seeing the kids parents and their families just so proud as punch and overwhelmed with joy to see their kids performing in the lime-light in front of a massive audience and to then receive their winning award just makes you feel good inside.
They all did us proud representing
Weave, and I hope that as a team we can all continue to strive to create these memories for the young people that we work with.
This is what our work is all about.
We would like to say a massive thank you to, the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Barnardos Family Referral Service and Randwick City Council for investing in this program, We are extremely grateful for our kids to have this opportunity.
The Namatjira Project
The Nama project was a new partnerships in 2016 with Nickie Djapouras, Coordinator Community Development Project UNSW who applied for a small grant from Randwick council and received the funding for Namatjira bush art program.
Nickie reached out to Weave Youth and Community services Kool Kids Club manger Lucy Butler to coordinate a community capacity building program aimed at engaging young people in the community, through an outreach program provided and facilitated by the Kool Kids Club Aboriginal activities worker Keenan Mundine.
The recreational and creative activities delivered to the young people aged from 4 years up to 16 years by Keenan and Lucy ranged from arts and craft, learning to screen print t-shirts, learning about recycling and the different ways of recycling and up cycling, learning about gardening and native plants, composting and weeding, correct use of spray painting and personal protective equipment whilst spray painting.
The Nama project operated out of Namarjira community room located in the housing estate in Chifley, the community room was not being used and was closed for a long time. The Namitjira community room is prime location for community development program
s like the Nama project.
The program was term 1 2016 every Monday afternoon from 3:30pm / 5:00pm. The program started off slow with two to three young people attending the first afternoon, by week three we were having from 10/15 young people attending as well as some of their family members.
The community room needs a lot of preparation for term two like cleaning and updating of the safety equipment (fire extinguisher, power sources test and tag, sink and bathroom). Also we need resources for arts and craft activities and new furniture for the young people.
I am excited for term two and so are theyoung people from Namitjira, I am so proud of the team effort to build this program to now see the impact it is having on the young people, their families and the impact and feedback from the community.
I would like to say a very big thank you to Randwick Council, Nickie Djapouris from UNSW, Dee from Randwick council and Aunty Maxine Ryan a Indigenous elder from La Perouse.
Surfing Term 1 2016
This term we welcomed eight new kids to the Aboriginal Surfing Program.
The kids learnt about water & beach safety, how to use rips to their advantage, paddling techniques & most importantly how to correctly surf on a board. We also had a crash course in the best treatment for blue bottle stings which turned out to be very helping seeing as though a majority of the group received their first ever sting from blueys!
Once again Mother Nature threw some heavy weather and surf conditions our way, but in true Kool Kids style this did not deter our crew from taking on big waves & rough swells throughout the term. The younger kids showed plenty of bravery and pushed themselves each week to become better surfers. Well done Jade B, Stacey, Shanoa, Baya, Lynette, Tyrone and Alkira who excelled during their first full term on the surf program and are super excited about our upcoming surf camp.
A big thanks to Claire, Hayley and the team at Surfing NSW for supporting this amazing program, our instructor’s from Let’s Go Surfing Maroubra who shared their knowledge and love of surfing with us each week and last but not lease thank you Dan, Crita and Wilksy.
Well done little grommets. Keep surfing, stay stoked and most importantly stay KOOL!
Early Morning Fitness Term 1
The Girls Early Morning Fitness program kicked off in full swing this term.
We had a dedicated group of girls attend each Monday & sweat it out in the warm weather. The workouts definitely became more difficult each week with Scott mixing it up to keep us all focussed & keen to get fit.
The girls were ready and waiting in the early hours & some morning were certainly harder than others.
Following our workout we ate a healthy breakfast at Maroubra Beach before heading off to school.
Scott Geddes, owner & operator of First Grade Fitness Maroubra & ex-first grade Rabbitohs player, ran our sessions each week. Scott was super impressed with the girl’s effort & also their commitment to the program. Thanks to Lucy for also helping out each week to make the program successful.
Well done to our youngest member Shanoa, who was ready & waiting each week and put in a huge effort. Congratulations girls on this term & remember “sweat is fat crying!”
Term One Nature Play Program Term 1 2016
During the first term of 2016, the Kool Kids Club participated in a fun and adventurous Nature Play program with Samantha who is the Coordinator of Education Services at Centennial Parklands. The program ran over eight weeks at Sydney Centennial Parklands.
Each week the kids were actively engaged and explored many different types of plants, bugs, insects and natural bush materials through hands on practical activities.
Some of the activities included:
· Building Shelters and waterproof testing them
· Building boats out of natural materials and testing them in the pond
· Nature walks
· Exploration of the ponds and water life.
· Making kites and test flying them
· Fun nature play & games
· Clay Modelling
This program is always proven to be a huge success with the kids! Each child had t
he freedom to play at their own leisure at times and they were happy to get their hands dirty. We usually had around 16-18 kids each week. They all thoroughly enjoyed the activities whilst obeying the rules &boundaries around the Nature Play space.
We would like to say a massive thank you to Barnardos Family Referral Service, for providing ongoing, consistent support and funding that has enabled this program to run each year, as well as Samantha from Centennial Park for her incredible work in organising and facilitating the 8 week program for us and also support from Southern Phone Grant and the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. We are extremely grateful for our kids to have this opportunity!
Swimming Program Term 1 2016
The Kool Kids Swim Squad had an awesome kick start to the first term of 2016!
Each term we generally have 10 kids who actively participate in the Swimming Program. This year we were fortunate to have a few new youngsters join us, which has been great.
Over the eight weeks, the kids were diligent and followed close instruction from Miss Christine whilst learning different stroke techniques, learning to blow bubbles as well as diving and timing laps.
It’s so wonderful to see the kids get stronger and more confident in the water as each week goes by. This program enables our kids to learn about the importance of water safety, to develop their swimming ability, health, confidence and their self-esteem.
We would like to say a huge thank you to our extremely dedicated and lovely Swimming Instructor Christine May. We would like to thank you for all of your consistent hard work, invaluable knowledge and the time that you have invested into our kids over the many years you have worked with us.
We would also like to specially thank David & Adele from All Sorts who continue to show their support in providing us with our swimming lane at All Sorts Pool in Alexandria. We are truly grateful to each of you for making this opportunity available
Term 1 Switch Leadership
The switch leadership program was made up of a mix of boys and girls who have made the transition from primary school to high school, we take Term 1 to catch up with the Kool Kids and check in on the transition and progress into high school.
The switch leadership program is a full 8-week term on learning about peer leadership and mentoring, we do group activities that involve group discussions. We started the switch leader program with the question what do you think it is to be a good leader/ role model?
Then as a group we discuss what a positive leader/ role model is, what it means to the Kool Kids to be a switch leader. We have group discussions on how to be the best switch leader they can be.
While training the Kool Kids to be the bestswitch leaders they can be, we take them on group outings to have fun and build positive friendships. We watch themgrow as they each build on their personal confidence in a group dynamic.
Some of the fun outings we did where indoor rock climbing, snorkelling at Clovelly, footy and bbq at Maroubra beach, we had a cook off at the Shack and finished up the switch leadership program at actractivity in Alexandria.
The Kool kids were all excited to become switch leaders and to be a part of the transition to watch them all grow into confident, strong, resilient young adults was a great experience forme, one that was humbling to me.
By Keenan Mundine.
WEAVE & City of Sydney
Living in Harmony Month, Intergenerational film project
An exciting new Youth Opportunities program kicked off this term in partnership with City of Sydney Council and a terrific bunch of kids from Weave. Each Friday John Tsioulos, from City of Sydney Council, shared his knowledge of film & directing with the kids to prepare them for the final week of program when they would be interviewing the elders.
The kids were taught skills in how to use a camera to takestill shots, basic filming techniques, how a scene is put together and the best techniques for interviewing people. The team put their newly learnt skills to the test on Friday 18th March when Lorraine Ventura, also from City of Sydney Council, arranged elders from the Cliff Noble Community Centre to attend the afternoon so our kids couldput their skills into practice. We were greeted with warm smiles, positive energy and lots of yummy food.
The kids stood up & took ownership of this program while ensuring our guests where comfortable and prepared to be interviewed on camera. We heard stories of their favourite childhood memories, where they grew up, where they attended school and their hobbies in later life, with John directing us along the way. The program was full of laughter and we took a lotgreat memories away from the afternoon.
The program would not have been possible or such a success without the guidance of John & Lorraine. A big thank you to you both for your hard work & commitment to the program. Also, a shout out to our student placement Yuigee & Shahan who kindly volunteered on this program. Thank you for being part of our group each week.
SWD Camp, May 2016
On Wednesday 21st, 22nd & 23rd of April, the Kool Kids Club headed to Gerroa once again for our annual Salt Water Dreaming Camp. Thankyou for Surf Camp Australia, Surfing NSW and the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for making this possible.
This year we were excited to have taken a large group of 15 Kool Kids, 2 Switch leaders, 4 Staff and 3 incredible volunteers Faith, Nicole & Alana.
Wednesday morning we were up early packing the buses and getting everything organised to pick the kids up ready to hit the road. Keenan and Mel drove the two buses down with the kids as Evie, Lucy, & Faith with the help of Nicole & Alana did a fantastic job of putting up the tents, as well as preparing the camp spot for everyone.
The campsite was nicely set up upon the kid’s arrival, as each kid jumped off and started unloading their gear so excited and pumped to surf! We started off with our normal routine of going over the camp rules & discussed this year’s themes, which were CULTURE, FRIENDSHIP, & BE KIND TO ONE AN OTHER before getting dressed in their wet suits to head off down to the water to catch some waves.
This camp we had a handful of new kids join us for the first time and it was so amazing to see them out in the water giving it their all and having so much fun in the water with the amazing Surf Instructors that help us out every year.
After wrapping up our first surf session, everyone did so well. We quickly got the kids back to the camp and had them showered, fed and all nice and rugged up for the movie night. The kids took their sleeping bags and pillows as they laid down by the outdoor blow up screen and enjoyed the movie ‘Inside Out’ under the stars.
After the movie, everyone brushed their teeth and got ready for bed. Every year the first night is the hardest to try and get them all to go to sleep but they eventually fall asleep after a few laughs and flickering of the torches inside their tents.
Thursday morning everyone was up bright and early getting dressed and prepared for another surf (it was perfect weather too by the way, we were very lucky).
We headed over to the camps outdoor kitchen and enjoyed a light breakfast. Afterwards we had the kids all suited up to head down for their second surf. As we reached the beach, and the kids were carrying their boards down, we were all so amazed at the beautiful weather that we were blessed with.
Our awesome surf Instructor Sam briefed the kids once again and psyched everybody up with a short game of bull rush in the sand to get us going. Before you knew it they were all fiercely paddling out into the water to catch some waves while some of our more experienced surfers tried some new fancy moves on their boards, which was so great to see.
What was more exciting to see also, was the new kids out there chasing the waves and learning to stand up on their boards for the first time with he help of the Instructors and workers. We got some really cool shots of those very proud moments.
After the surf we headed back to the camp site for some quick showers, lunch and then headed out to the National Park to have a guided tour by Aunty Dedre who once again did an amazing job talking about the Aboriginal history and heritage down along the South Coast as well as talking and sharing the different types of plants and bush tucker in the National Park. Aunty Dedre was also interested in hearing about our kids and their backgrounds and who their families were as well – it was really beautiful to see the kids being so respectful, engaged and listening to every word she was saying.
After the tour with Aunty Dedre, the kids kicked the ball around for a bit and enjoyed making some weaving fishes with different plant based materials. They loved it!
After the National Park we then headed back to our campsite. Some kids enjoyed some free time on the massive jumping pillow, some went on a little adventure to find small crabs while some kids just stayed in their tents and rested before we had our next Activities. After free time we then had our very own Kool Kids Worker Keenan facilitate a ‘men’s business’ workshop with the boys which included the boys all designing a spear artefact with each one carving their name and design on it with a burner. On the other hand we had the beautiful Faith who kindly volunteered her time on camp to help out but who also did a fantastic job facilitating a Fashion workshop with our girls. She shared her journey with the girls and spoke about her background and experience as well as encouraging the girls to create their own brand ideas, clothing line and who also were their favourite style icons and their dreams. The girls were really interested and loved learning about fashion.
After the workshops, everyone had dinner and headed over to sit by the campfire. Every year we are so thankful to have Aunty Julie Freeman who is a well respected elder in the Illawarra region, come down and share her dream time stories which have been passed down from generation to generation in her family stemming from her late grandmother. The kids really love her stories and the way she expresses such humour and emotion. You can really tell that Aunty Julie has a deep connection and is passionate about sharing our culture with our future kids. I love that she is always encouraging our kids to dream big and to never forget that we are DEADLY. Some of the kids were really moved by her stories and even waited to give her a hug. One comment that I heard from one of the kids was ‘Thank you Aunty Julie, for making me really appreciate what I have at home now’.
Everyone was so exhausted after the story time and surprisingly the kids went straight to bed and had a good rest. On Friday morning everyone was up early showered, packing their bags and already packing their tents up. It was a great team effort from everyone including the kids, getting everything packed down and straight back into the buses.
We then had our last breakfast before suiting up for the kids last surf. We had a couple of small injuries which left a couple of people out of the water but that did not stop the kiddies getting in the water one last time to smash out some waves! And my oh my did they rip it up. We were very lucky to have just gotten a little bit of rain, so glad it didn’t rain on the tents this time! Everyone enjoyed their last surf and then headed back one last time to the Surf Camp for some delicious lunch and a quick presentation.
Each volunteer and each of the Kool Kids were recognised and was presented with an Attendance Award and we also had our stand out Awards, which were given out by the Kool Kids Workers.
The kids also proudly presented their special gifts to the Surf Camp and the amazing Instructors Sam & Tom who work tirelessly without fail to make our camp a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone each year. We are beyond grateful to have this opportunity not only once but TWICE a year to take our kids down, and see them build up their confidence, to thrive and learn so much about water safety, surfing and to see them immerse themselves more and more in their Identity and Aboriginal Culture. It is memories like these that will stay with them forever.
We would like to say a special thank you to GUY OLBOURNE and the whole team at Surf Camp Australia for generously sponsoring our camps each year, for looking after us and allowing our kids to have such an epic and unforgettable experience.
A massive thankyou to our incredible volunteers, Faith, Nicole & Alana from STAND UP for your hard work, commitment and dedication over the three days. More hands made lighter work and we really appreciated all of your help and input. It makes a huge difference.
Last but not least, thank you to our dream team, KKC’s fearless leader Lucy and Keenan. We would like to specially thank our Mel for consistently working hard to ensure that this camp runs smoothly each year. Mel, you put in countless hours of work and so much effort behind the scenes for this camp and we appreciate all that you do. You are amazing.
Balladoran Cultural Camp 2016
During the weekend of Friday 13th, Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th May, we took sixteen of our Kool Kids and four workers out along the countryside for our first ever Balladoran Cultural Camp experience. On behalf of Weave and Kool Kids Club, we would like to say a massive thank you to Barnardos, Family Referral Service once again for funding this camp and for allowing our kids to have this magical experience at out in Central NSW.
Friday morning Evie, Lucy, Mel and for the first time our newest Kool Kid Worker, our very own Beau Foster were up early excited and packing the buses getting ready to pick the kids up to hit the road to Wellington.
All sixteen kids were up early waiting with their gear and were super keen to get on the bus! It was little Maui Mongta’s birthday as well, which was really special. Everyone sang him Happy Birthday before we left and shared some yummy cake.
We were well and truly on the road by 9.30am heading to Bathurst where we stopped for a break to have our famous Kool Kids Sandwiches and the kids had a quick stretch and play at the park.
We eventually arrived at the Wellington Caves for the 4.30pm Cathedral Cave Tour. Everyone enjoyed the tour and was amazed to learn about the crystals, rocks and the history of the cave/area. The thunder cave is always a hit with the kids and they just love listening to the noises and echoes deep inside the cave. After the cave tour, it began to get dark as the kids enjoyed some light afternoon tea snacks.
Everyone jumped back on the buses and we headed for our final destination, Uncle Ralph Naden’s Balladoran Cultural Camp. It took us a while to find the right road but we eventually got there safe and sound. Uncle Ralph’s first comment when he saw the bus was ‘Jeez that’s a bit lary aint it’ he had never seen a bus so bright and colourful!
The kids and workers unpacked the buses as we were warmly greeted by Uncle Ralph and some of his family. They had already kindly had dinner cooked and prepared for us after our long travels. There was a lovely fire burning further out the back where the kids went and sat and afterwards went for a short walk around the site with Uncle Ralph. Some of us became a little frightened after hearing the wild bush pigs making noises from afar and then hearing the pig dogs chasing them out away from the property. But once everyone was rugged up and had a few yarns around the fire, we were ready for bed and lights were out by 10pm.
The next morning, the kids were up at the crack of dawn! (5.30am to be exact) Uncle Ralph was already up preparing a warm fire near the bush kitchen and his brother in-law Claude and nephew George had eggs and bacon sizzling away for everyone. The kids were extremely happy and very satisfied to start the day off with a big breakfast.
After Breakfast we all met two special young men who had been through Uncle Ralphs program/camp as young kids after experiencing some difficult times in their childhood. All the kids were inspired to hear about their story and how they turned their lives around with the help of Uncle Ralph and going through his camp. These young men were pig hunters and had three beautiful pig dogs in the back of their utes, the kids all jumped in the back of the ute and could not stop patting them.
We were also introduced to one of Uncle Ralphs long time friends who shared his story and did some fantastic yodelling for everyone, it was good to hear them both say ‘it doesn’t matter if your black or white’ we are all ONE and celebrate as one. We also met the beautiful Aunty Dianne Riley who is one of the first well respected Aboriginal teachers at Dubbo Yarradamarra TAFE teaching Wiradjuri language. She kindly came along to co-facilitate women’s business along with Uncle Ralph facilitating the men’s business. We started our bush walk as Uncle Ralph began to take us on an incredible bush tour, which was all situated and set up on his property. As we were walking and listening, Uncle Ralph and Aunty Di explained different tree carvings and explained what their meanings were. We also looked at many different ways of survival and signs in the bush of how to find water, ways in how we should be careful of snakes and other animals when out looking for bush tucker.
As we came to the middle of the bush we were split up into boysand girls groups to be separated for men and women’s business. Each group came back together afterwards and learnt some invaluable life lessons through a simple practical activity of choosing two paths in the bush. We later came to realise Uncle Ralph shared an important, wise piece of advice to everyone, which was to never choose to take the short cut way in life because it will tend to lead you to crash in life or be misled. The long way however most people chose to stand on this side, he shared the lesson of always choosing to take the long way in life because along the way it may seem longer and harder but later on in the long run we will learn so much more and gain much more knowledge and experience throughout life. It was an awesome perspective for the kids to view the paths in their life and to re-think their decisions about furthering their education, skills or even just to sit and show respect to our elders, as they are the ones who have the wisdom and advice to help us get through tough times if we need it.
As we continued on our bush trail, we then came to the hunting ground, which was made up of some emu manikins that Uncle Ralph made and each person had a chance to throw the spears at them. We all then moved to the dancing circle where we saw a fake pig stuck in the tree – Uncle Ralph has an incredibly funny sense of humour and loves to make people laugh and feel comfortable around him, that’s just the type of person he is. He said what’s the difference between the pigs tail and the morning? He said it’s ‘Twirly” (too early). Everyone had a little giggle.
As we arrived at the dance circle, Uncle Ralph performed a short welcome ceremony with some gum leaves and welcomed each person as we walked through the circle through the leaves and around the stones. I love how he spoke about the stones around certain areas on the property, which symbolise sacred ground, and the differences between white law and black fulla law (LORE). The kids really listened and showed respect to know to walk around the rocks instead of crossing over them. After everyone was seated around the ceremony circle we were entertained by Uncle Ralph, Aunty Di and Beau, as they shared a special moment to dance together. It was beautiful to see Uncle Ralph taking a shine to Beau and the rest of the younger boys. They had a connection, which was really special and as workers we just absolutely admired that.
We headed back and was served some delicious fried scones that Uncle Ralph whipped up with maple syrup and nice bbq lunch. We then jumped back in the buses to head for Dubbo Zoo where we spent two whole hours just driving around, looking at all the animals and taking pictures. We got some really cool shots!
After heading back to Balladoran, the kids went to check their Yabby net that was put placed in the small creek across the road. The kids bought back 6 yabby's and they had a small yabby race, which was hilarious. One of Uncle Ralphs daughters and sister Aunty Iris had prepared Spaghetti Bol and damper for everyone. After dinner Uncle Ralph put us all in a group and we headed out for a late night bushwalk under the stars and out on the wide dirt road. As we were walking, everyone was holding each other’s hands and we’re huddling in close as some younger kids were a little frightened. As Uncle Ralph was leading and talking away we could hear different noises coming from the bush and we kept thinking that there was someone following us. Uncle Ralph did speak of spirits that are in the bush and they are watching us all the time. It was a refreshing walk, and it was nice just to stand quietly and to listen to the bush life at night and at one point from afar we did hear clap sticks and chanting. We ended with Uncle Ralph and some of the kids telling stories around the campfire and sang a few happy tunes to prepare everyone for bed.
Sunday morning, we were up early packing our bags and tent into the buses before enjoying a light breakfast. We then had a brief tour of Uncle Ralph’s museum, which was just AMAZING. So much history, artefacts and paintings that Uncle Ralph and his family have kept over the many years. The kids had fun getting painted up with ochre!
As we headed back over to the have one more walk around the site, the kids had last minute opportunities to talk to Uncle Ralph’s pet Cockatoo and see him dance one last time. They also went to pat his horses across the road and check their yabbi nets before saying their final goodbyes to Uncle Ralph, Claude and George who did a fantastic job helping as kitchen hands and generously preparing food for all of whilst in Balladoran.
Uncle Ralph has always been a well, respected elder in the Wiradjuri community in NSW. He is someone who has the biggest heart for people (especially our Aboriginal youth) he is smart, loving, wise and very funny. We all felt extremely welcomed and felt a strong connection to land and a beautiful sense of family, unity & community with Uncle Ralph. To end the camp Uncle Ralph generously gave each kid either a pair of clap sticks, a digging stick and gave the birthday boy Maui a brand new didgeridoo. The kids presented Uncle Ralph with a painted boomerang and card to say thank you. He said that he will hang it in his museum.
We are just overwhelmed with gratitude for the experience. We know that these kind of camps have a lasting impact and we hope that the kids will never forget this time that they spent with Uncle Ralph.
I myself as a young child can remember going to Uncle Ralphs camp and it instilled in me much needed knowledge and values to learn more about my culture and to always be proud of who I am and where I come from.
This time round seventeen years later, I had the most amazing opportunity & gift of being able to share this special experience with our kool kids and workers. Words really can’t explain how beautiful the camp was over the three days, but I know it left a special mark on our hearts.
I really hope the kids will look back on this experience and remember the wise advice Uncle Ralph gave to each and every one of them and to always have ‘YINDYAMARRA’ (respect) in all aspects of their lives.
We ended the camp by driving out to Nanima (my home) and the kids ran and knocked on each door and gave out bread and milk. As part of WEAVE’S ‘It’s Kool to be Kind’ campaign we thought this was a great way to end their weekend. The kids enjoyed meeting the residents of Nanima as they proudly introduced themselves.
We had a quick BBQ lunch with some of the families, and our kids had fun mingling with the other children. Leanne Stanley from the Wellington Local Aboriginal Lands Council also came out and welcomed the kids with some fun skipping rope on the street while the boys practised their footy kicks over the footy post. We quickly packed up and said goodbye to everyone! Some kids had ask the workers if we could come back next time. The whole weekend, truly was just SPECIAL and so meaningful.
On behalf of Weave and Kool Kids Club, we would like to say a massive thank you to Barnardos Family Referral Service once again for funding this camp and for allowing our kids to have this magical experience at out in Central NSW. We hope that we can continue to work in partnership to help change the lives of the people we work with through positive initiatives like this as well as learning and connecting to culture.
Thank you to Uncle Ralph & Aunty Dianne Riley for sharing your heart, passion, culture and knowledge with us. Kimmy, thank you for your help in assisting us with the booking and for all the beautiful family for helping out to make sure that our stay was comfortable, well fed and entertained! Seeing Uncle Ralph and his grand sons dance was just so moving and inspiring to see. Your hospitality is greatly appreciated.
Also thank you to my beautiful cousins Kelly Powell & Darrel for providing the BBQ as well as Leanne Stanley and her gorgeous family for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us out at Nanima and for availing yourself to help and assist with activities for us. Next time we will have to stay longer!! And not to forget our AWESOME Kool Kids Team especially Lucy, Mel and Beau for all your amazing help, commitment, patience and support over the three days and in lead up to it. A camp like this could not have gone ahead without you guys! I am grateful that I am apart of a team that is so strong, humble, driven with passion, understanding and adventurous at the same time. I am thankful that it all works out J
From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU everyone for all your hard work, passion and time in helping make this experience one that we will never forget. At Weave here we are all about building stronger, connected communities and I really hope that we can get the chance to do this all over again some time in the nearer future.
Evie & The Kool Kids Team