First Nation students from Orange and Bathurst inspired to take the lead when designing their futures 

[by Rebecca Akers]

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Image: supplied

Charles Sturt University in Orange welcomed 15 First Nations high school students this week for a three-day program designed to help them consider their post-school career and study options.

The ‘Strong Moves Camp’ presented by Future Moves – a program operated out of Charles Sturt –started on Tuesday 27 April and is being attended by students in Years 9, 10 and 11 from Orange High School and Denison College’s Bathurst High Campus and Kelso High Campus.

The students will participate in a range of educational, cultural and social activities, with some staying on-campus in Orange to get the full university experience.

Charles Sturt Indigenous Liaison Officer (Future Moves) Mr Nathan Peckham said the camp builds students’ awareness of their post-school career and study options in a fun, engaging and culturally inclusive way.

“The biggest benefit of this program is it is aspiration-building for the students and gets them to think about what their options might be going forward,” Mr Peckham said.

“It also includes a really positive social component for the students as well.

“We run a lot of interactive workshops that cover a wide range of courses and focus on leadership and academia, but we also have a lot fun activities and ice-breaker activities thrown in there as well.

“The program really is a great way to meet new people and get a bit of a feel for what it might be like to move away from home and go to a university.

“Some kids haven’t attended a university campus before, so that is another bonus that comes out of it.”

The University has been running camps, like the Strong Moves Camp, for First Nations students since 2013 at all six of its regional campuses: Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Albury-Wodonga and Port Macquarie.

Approximately 1,000 students have participated in the Strong Moves program since its inception.

Activities in the Orange camp include an awarding-winning leadership session presented by Burn Bright that will take students through post-school career and study options, a Three Rivers UDRH information session focusing on health, science workshop, Smoking Ceremony, scavenger hunt, drone activity, tree planting activity and trivia.

Mr Cooper Hodgson, a Year 11 student and Indigenous Leader at Bathurst High School who participated in the program last year and again this year, said he did not really think about university before taking part in it.

“Thanks to the program I now know I want to go to uni and study community services,” he said.

“It helps you to plan what you want to do once you leave school, instead of just leaving school and not knowing what to do.

“You learn about all of the different courses and subjects at uni and that if you don’t get the marks with your ATAR, there are still ways to get into uni.

“I would for sure encourage other students to get involved – it is an awesome program and a lot of fun.”

The Strong Moves Camp is part of Future Moves’ Danygamalanha Program. The camp includes workshops, sessions and guest speakers that look to build awareness, cultural linkages, career options and aspiration.

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