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Walk of Life program a once in a lifetime opportunity

Senior Constable Mark Cartner with some of the participants from the Walk of Life Program

Senior Constable Mark Cartner has recently returned from a trip to Cape York with students from around the region as part of his Walk of Life program.

Now in its sixth year, the program is designed to provide young people with opportunities to learn more about culture, the environment and life skills while completing a Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation.

This year’s group of students have returned from an expedition where they attended the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival, visited reconciliation rocks and experienced a Kup Murri (traditional underground cooking) in the Cape York region.

“As part of the Walk of Life Program we went up to Cape York and showed the students around Cooktown and Laura and we had traditional owners who took us on a tour of their country,” Senior Constable Cartner said.

“The trip was for 12 days and we drove up, staying at PCYC’s along the way up and we camped out at a station just outside of Laura while we were there, sleeping out of swags and learning to cook for ourselves as well as doing our own washing and cleaning.”

Senior Constable Cartner said the aim of the expedition was to encourage re-engagement in education for students and teach them that there was a lot more to life out there.

“The aim of the program is re-engagement and to get kids re-interested in education,” Senior Constable Cartner said.

“As part of the course they do a Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation so a lot of it is for educational purposes and life skills and to show them there is a little bit more to life and the outdoors.

“The students need this sort of program as it shows them about other ways of life, with about half the kids being Indigenous and half of them not, they all came together with an understanding of the culture.”

Senior Constable Mark Cartner and students engaged in Bundaberg’s Walk of Life program have just returned from an epic trip to Cape York. This expedition was part of their Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation qualification. Students travelled to Cooktown where they took part in a welcome and smoking ceremony at Wujal Wujal. Local police rolled out the red carpet and participated in the ceremony along with traditional owners, making it a community affair. They were able to enjoy the Wujal falls, and viewed the impressive and culturally significant Black Mountain. A cultural tour with Uncle Willie Gordon provided an understanding of bush tucker and bush medicines while touring a cultural centre and local rock art, as well as keeping everyone laughing with his wit and good humour. Our visit to Cooktown finished with a visit to reconciliation rocks where traditional owner Harold Ludwick from the James Cook Museum challenged everyone's perceptions of James Cook. Standing on the ground where the event happened, he explained how Cook and his men and the local first nations people were able to set aside their differences and resolve a dispute over turtles in the first recorded act of reconciliation in Australia on July 19, 1770. Led by a peace offering by tribal Elder Ngamu Yarrbarigu carrying a broken spear to as a universally understood symbol of peace, Cook recorded in his journal that these actions “reconciled every thing”. An act which serves as an example for our present times. The expedition then moved to Laura, where a Kup Murri (traditional underground cooking) was held with special guests including Senior Constable Adam Frew and family who assisted in putting together this expedition. Auntie Delina also visited and shared her wisdom and story of overcoming adverse childhood experiences before a shared feast. On Saturday students attended the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival. Students learnt new skills with workshops on local craft making, enjoyed the dances and later that evening danced their socks off to the vibes of local band Zennith and Yothu Yindi. Our last day was spent on a challenging walk around Split Rock to view World Heritage listed rock art galleries guided by Uncle Johnny Murison. Thoughts turned to home as students thought about the importance of families and connection while looking over the spectacular Laura escarpment country. Returning in time for NAIDOC week has provided the opportunity to show this video at the family day. The voices of the students in the video says it all. This was the trip of a Dreamtime!

Posted by myPolice Bundaberg on Thursday, July 8, 2021

The students were engaged in a range of activities throughout the expedition that encouraged skill development to help them complete their certificate.

“We have done a couple of units on cooking, some on food safety handling as well as rock climbing, canoeing, bushwalking and navigation work,” he said.

“They will also be doing a first aid certificate and then there are other units that help them to understand what it is like to work and learn general skill that are applicable to a broad range of industries.”

Participant Dakota Stanmore said the opportunity was a once in a lifetime experience that she would highly recommend to anyone.

“This program is amazing, you make so many new friends and see so many new places,” Dakota said.

“We went kayaking which helped us to experience and understand water safety and the hiking gave us bush experience and taught us about plants you can or can’t eat and also taught us about the traditional use for them and the first aid.

“The Walk of Life program is the trip of a lifetime.

“Everything you learn on it you will need to use one day and getting to have a Certificate II in Outdoor Rec makes it even better.”

You can find out more about the expedition here.

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