University holds Indigenous leadership camp - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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University holds Indigenous leadership camp

3 May 2018

USC has held an innovative Indigenous leadership camp aimed at inspiring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students to set their career aspirations high.

The three-day program from April 9-11 at the Apex Camp Mudjimba was organised by USC’s Indigenous Services for 15 students in Years 11 and 12 from as far afield as Hervey Bay and Caboolture.

Organiser Karyn Baker said the students enjoyed challenging themselves mentally and physically through high ropes courses, then learning more about themselves and each other through a series of team-building exercises.

But she said the highlight of the camp for many of the teenagers was hearing USC student athletes Anna Jefferies and James Harbidge talk about their experiences at university.

Anna, who has been a professional triathlete since 2013, is studying a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, while James, who is a Queensland Rugby League high performance referee, is studying a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Orthotics and Prosthetics).

“The talks from the athletes were really good for a lot of the students who were still considering different career options,” Ms Baker said.

“Some of them even changed the career paths they wanted to pursue after hearing the athletes speak. And that in essence – helping students find the right career path – was what the camp was all about.”

Urangan State High School student Hannah Cain, 17, who umpires netball games and runs marathons, said she was inspired by Anna’s speech and now also wants to study Nutrition and Dietetics.

“I loved hearing how the university supports her with her triathlons and sports too,” she said. “It would be really cool if I could be a part of the High Performance Student Athlete program as an umpire.”

USC’s High Performance Student Athlete program assists elite and emerging athletes with benefits that range from development programs to learning support and financial assistance.

The program has doubled in size since it was established at the beginning of 2017, with 130 athletes now competing in 29 different sports and studying 41 different degree programs.

- Tom Snowdon

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