Article by YMCA Victoria, Author: Joanna Monahan.

The Y in partnership with Sport and Recreation Victoria (SRV) recently joined forces with the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association to deliver the Deadly Kids Camp at Camp Manyung for 20 Koorie young people from 6 – 9 April. 

Over the course of the three days, participants learnt about the the Yidaki (Didgeridoo), jewellery crafts and boomerang throwing. They also participated in a variety of recreational activities, including an All Aboard skateboarding session run by YMCA Action Sports.

Rachel, who led the session along with ‘Coach Matt’, said participants were quick to get on the boards and give it a go.

“Some of the kids had their natural flow and skated solo, while others needed some assistance and support. But that’s the best thing about skateboarding… it’s not a race! There is no rush and each milestone (however great or small) can be celebrated,” said Rachel.

Skateboarding not only increases physical literacy, it brings people together and it creates a sense of community and acceptance. It was evident that a sense of camaraderie was present throughout the session, with participants helping and supporting each other even though some of them only just met.

One of the objectives of the camp is to equip participants with the tools and skills they need to continue to stay active and connected to their peers long after the camp concludes. As part of the All Aboards session, all 20 Koorie kids received a skateboard to take home to continue practicing ‘Ollies’ and other tricks with their new-found friends.

“The looks on each participants’ face when they realised that they had been gifted a board to keep was amazing!”

“The whole experience was very special, especially when some of the young people shared stories of their respective histories on country.”

Leaders from the Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association delivered activities that focussed on deepening cultural knowledge and identity.

“It’s so important for our young people to have opportunities like this to have fun, make friends, learn new skills and tackle physical challenges together,” said Peter Aldenhoven, Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association Executive Officer. ​

The camp was funded as part of a $300,000 grant from the Federal Government for a series of ongoing recreation programs for young Aboriginal people. As part of the funding, the Y plans to continue hosting similar camps in partnership with local Aboriginal community groups, as well as deliver All Aboard skateboarding sessions across Victoria.