Young Indigenous Women's Leadership Camp August 2018

Recently, Garnduwa held another successful annual Smarter than Smoking Young Indigenous Women’s Leadership Camp.

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In August 15 girls from Broome, One Arm Point, Halls Creek, Derby, Looma, Kalumburu, Warmun and Wyndham travelled to El Questro Wilderness Park to participate in a range of exciting leadership activities. It was fantastic to see so many girls from remote communities across the Kimberley in attendance and showing great leadership by attending solo and really stepping out of their comfort zone. Most girls didn’t know each other but challenged themselves to make new friends and put in a great effort throughout the camp.

For those travelling from the West Kimberley region, this year we decided to leave a day earlier to break up the long drive. Thanks to the Warmun Community, School and Youth Service for accommodating us and allowing us to participate in the youth activities with the kids.

Arrival at El Questro on Thursday 23rd August saw the girls gather with those travelling from the East Kimberley to start setting up camp. The program concentrated on enhancing skills needed to be a good leader; communication skills, ability to listen, willingness to try, working together in a team environment, creativity and the ability to look after yourself to lead a positive, healthy lifestyle.


For the first time at camp, Garnduwa was very fortunate to have Aunty Kathy and Jean O’Reeri to welcome us to Country. They are Traditional Owners from the Ngarinyin people, one of two native title holder groups whose country we were meeting on. These lovely ladies showed us around country and gave talks of the area to provide more insight into where we were and to make us feel welcome.

The first full day of activities saw the girls slowly find their energy. We decided to head over to Emma Gorge to deliver the game inspired by “Survivor El Questro”. Once the girls started to gel, the team agreed to walk the 3.2km round trip trek to Emma Gorge’s beautiful waterfall. The trek was testing but the girls coped well (as did the staff) and were rewarded with a magnificent view and swim at the end of it.


Over the duration of the camp, the 15 young women participated in challenges also inspired by ‘’Master Chef’’, as well as participating in a series of workshops. These workshops focused on self-care practices (relaxation and meditation) and feminine strength of a young leader, art therapy and nutrition. Special thanks to Boab Health Kununurra, Kimberley Mental Health and Drug Services (Kununurra and Derby) for running such great workshops for the girls. Your expertise is greatly appreciated!

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Camp came to an end on Saturday night with the Cave experience, delivered by one of our very own past camp coordinators, Helen Ockerby. What an amazing experience for all who were apart of this special occasion to wrap up a great few days of fun, enjoyment, learning and development. It wouldn’t be a Garnduwa event without a final tent dance off the girls enjoyed before heading off to bed for an early 5am start to get back on the road the following morning.

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We look forward to next year’s camp and new participants to share this experience with and create new memories. Through all aspects of the program, there was a fabulous group of staff to assist the young leaders where necessary who encouraged enhanced participation at all times. A huge thank you to all the wonderful people that volunteered to attend. Without you, none of this is possible so we thank you for your time, commitment and energy in making this a worthwhile event.

Massive thanks must be given to El Questro Station and all their staff for making our experience even more amazing. Everything they provided from staffing, equipment, through to an amazing dinner, tour with Vinnie and accommodation. We appreciate everything you organised for our camp.

2018’s Garnduwa Smarter than Smoking Young Indigenous Women’s Leadership Camp was a great success and all those that participated should be thoroughly proud of their efforts! Look out for the next gen of leaders!