Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner
Young people in Kalgoorlie-Boulder will have the opportunity to retrace the footsteps of Australian soldiers with youth from across the State later this year.
The Y WA will sponsor 20 young people from the Goldfields, Perth metropolitan, and Pilbara regions to hike the challenging Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea with Kokoda Courage in October.
The trail is a single-file footpath that runs 96km through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea and attracts thousands of visitors each year wishing to commemorate the history of the Kokoda Trail campaign in World War II.
Featured in Photo: Zacquis Polak, 15, The Y Kalgoorlie youth co-ordinator Heather Momo, Kokoda Courage founder Peter Condon, and The Y Kalgoorlie outside of school hours care educator Isabella Dew. Credit: Carwyn Monck/Kalgoorlie Miner
The trek involves eight days of hiking, with distances ranging from 12-19km a day over a steep mountainous terrain through tropical rainforest.
The Kokoda Leadership and Development Program will be offered free of charge to young people aged 15 to 25 who are involved with the Y WA through their youth engagement services.
The eight-month program will involve health and fitness training two times a week and a diet plan to prepare the young adventurers.
Kokoda Courage founder Peter Condon visited Kalgoorlie-Boulder to run an information session at The Y Kalgoorlie on Friday to inform parents and potential young candidates about the trek and what is involved.
Mr Condon said trekking the historic trail was an excellent opportunity for young people to develop their leadership skills and self-esteem and enhance their physical and mental resilience.
“It’s a tough walk, it’s eight days of walking over a massive mountain range but it’s just incredibly beautiful all the way along,” he said.
“It’s taking them out of their comfort zone and they’re seeing a different culture that maybe they haven’t seen before, it’s really good fun.
“It’s a combination of an incredible experience which builds up mental resilience and mental toughness, and to learn more about Australian history which is really important.”
Mr Condon, an emergency service worker, founded the tour company with Lee Campbell in 2008.
He said he developed a “love for the local people, the culture, and the incredible story” after completing the Kokoda Trail in 2006.
Mr Condon said he was inspired to build his own tour company to share his passion for the history of the Kokoda Trail campaign — a series of battles between Japanese and Australian forces in Papua New Guinea during World War II.
“The Kokoda campaign is very significant history . . . we (Australian troops) literally stopped the Japanese from eventually invading Australia,” he said.
“They were going to take Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and it was a strategic place to launch attacks on Australia so it (was) really important that we stop them.”
Young people who are interested in the program are encouraged to apply as soon as possible at the Y Kalgoorlie.
Successful applicants will visit Papua New Guinea from October 6 to 16.
#leadership #youthleadership #kokodaleadership
#nextgeneration #mentalhealth #resilience
#mentaltoughness #leadershipskills #selfesteem