Experience and Leadership Camp 2017

At our annual Experience Camp and Leadership Camp (held in July) Murrup Barak hosted 29 Indigenous students, in years 11 and 12, for five days. The students stayed at Trinity College, participated in educational and cultural activities through the week and finished with a leadership workshop at Lancemore Hill.

The Camp was led and organised by Indigenous students and staff at Murrup Barak. Murrup Barak student ambassadors were involved in pre-planning the Camp, and were responsible for leading the students through the Camp program. On the first day of the Camp, students were encouraged to locate their mob and country on a map and share a bit about themselves. During these discussions, mentors and ambassadors also shared their own stories and emphasised key ideas of the Camp: Indigenous students are here to support each other and there is no wrong or single way to be Indigenous. Yarning circles with post graduate students, also allowed the secondary school students to ask honest questions about what it’s really like living away from home and in Melbourne, and the journey you take to becoming a post graduate student Indigenous student. The final day of the Camp was led by an Indigenous post graduate student, Todd Fernado. Todd led the students through a workshop about individual leadership.

Camps led by Indigenous staff and students are important model for Indigenous student outreach. The Camp enabled students familiarise themselves with the University space, different facilities and degree options however it also allowed prospective students to learn from the journeys and experiences of current Indigenous students. Residential camps can assist in removing many perceived barriers to studying at The University, however Indigenous residential camps also can result in students feeling connected to the staff and community at Murrup Barak, and this strengthens pathways into higher education.

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Rula Paterson