During the April school holidays, the Western VACCA office were able to host their first Cultural Camps for children aged six to thirteen years old. Forty children attended the camps in the program designed to connect children to their culture and community and provide some respite for carers. Community elders and five young community members also attended the camps to mentor the children and develop community connections.
Feedback from the children was overwhelmingly positive with kids stating they, “couldn’t wait till tomorrow!” And “I have so many cousins now!” All the children had a great experience making a very successful camp.
The four day camp began at the You Yangs, Little River with a smoking and welcome ceremony by a Wathaurong elder, then a day-long program designed and delivered by a Kamilaroi Park Ranger from Parks Victoria. The second day was facilitated by Gunditjmara and Wurundjeri community members. During the last two days the groups visited Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Geelong and Bunjilaka at Melbourne Museum.
Activities across the camp included painting and dancing, cooking bush tucker like kangaroo burgers and damper, rock climbing and “spear” hunting with sticks. At Narana the children learnt and played traditional games, greeted wallabies, kangaroos and emus with excitement and toured the centre, learning about traditional tools like spears, coolamons and were taught to throw boomerangs.
By touring Bunjilaka, the kids learned all about Bunjil our Creator, with quite a few children ecstatic to be able to point out family members featured in the exhibition. The next stop, after a picnic in the park, was the Koorie Heritage Trust with tours and boomerang painting.