The Gold Coast Titans through their Titans 4 Tomorrow programs are doing some of their most important off field work, three hundred and forty eight kilometres North West of the Gold Coast.
In partnership with QGC, The Titans 4 Tomorrow cultural connection camps led by former NRL star Preston Campbell are engaging students from across the Surat Basin, the Titans 4 Tomorrow teams working with indigenous youth to explore their culture.
Titans 4 Tomorrow Managing Director Michael Searle made the trip out to Chinchilla for the official launch of the program, saying the cultural connection camps were a legacy of the highly successful NRL's All Star concept which was the brainchild of Preston Campbell who identified the need for cultural mentoring amongst indigenous youth.
"From our perspective its imperative, it's imperative for us as an organisation to have strong community links, but equally as important to make a difference to each and every child in the region." Said Searle
"Obviously the support the club can give these kids through our players and particularly Preston Campbell and his team is really exciting for us and also the QGC."
The partnership with QGC will see fourteen indigenous connection camps held at seven high schools across the greater Surat Basin in 2014, with QGC Vice President of Sustainability Brett Smith saying Rugby League with the assistance of the Gold Coast Titans and the Titans 4 Tomorrow team program, provides the perfect platform to engage with the areas youth.
"Rugby League is the game in Central Queensland and it's about getting people engaged and the Titans not only provide engagement in the community with really good indigenous programs, they also bring people that the kids see on TV and that’s really good for the recognition of the camps and we are happy to ride along with that." Smith Said.
Preston Campbell has long been Rugby Leagues community pioneer, spending countless hours and making considerable personal contributions to various communities across the country.
The former Premiership and Dally M winner saying he is thrilled with the outcomes the QGC cultural connection camps will deliver.
“It’s basically about these young students learning about their culture, their background and maybe a little bit about where they come from, identity and hopefully they can take strength from that.”
“At the end of the day it’s for the kids to do better at school, and not just at school, but in their relationships, their life at home and be able to handle it a little bit better and I think with cultural identity, if they know and understand themselves a little bit more, I think it will go a long way towards them achieving really good things.” Said Campbell.
A self-confessed City slicker, Aidan Sezer who attended the launch in Chinchilla was confident he would learn more from spending time with the regions kids than he would be able to contribute.
Aidan saying “I get a real kick out of coming out here and meeting the indigenous kids because I grew up in the City and just to see how they go about things in the country and how isolating it can be and to come out here and assist them in achieving their goals always puts a smile on my face.”
Albert Kelly who was raised in a community which warmly embraced and educated youth in indigenous culture said the QGC, Titans 4 Tomorrow initiative would have a significant and long lasting effect on those who took part.
“My family is very strong on culture, I grew up as an aboriginal dancer and you go out there and dance for your tribe and there is a lot of pride, courage and strength attached to that and to help these kids learn something knew makes me a very proud aboriginal person.”
“Its very important because kids these days don’t really get taught anything about their culture and for us to come in here and help them and teach them a few things about their culture is great.” Kelly said.
The camps will involve a variety of activities targeting self-esteem, identity, cultural awareness and goal setting. Students will be taught how to play traditional games, paint artwork and learn performances and skills, such as boomerang making.
More about Titans 4 Tomorrow
Titans 4 Tomorrow Ltd (T4T) is a not-for-profit organisation that harnesses the power of sport to make a real difference to the lives of young people in communities across Queensland and northern New South Wales. Its achievements have been recognised nationally as one of the most effective contributions by a sporting entity in mentoring and improving the wellbeing of Indigenous youth.
Since 2008, T4T has developed and delivered programs that focus on school retention, career aspiration, mentoring and case management for disengaged youth and young people who have experienced the justice system. These programs are playing an active role in ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.