This term we're running the Operation Newstart program in the Nillumbik/Banyule council areas and we're off to a great start. We had fantastic attendance across the three days and everyone seems to have settled in well.
Wednesday was spent at Eltham YMCA Leisure Centre, where we all tested out our fitness with our trainer Jordan, before a game of footy and basketball. We've got 4 more sessions over the program at the YMCA to learn more about what the gym has to offer. After lunch we spent the time as a group playing a few ice breaker games and getting to know each other, as well as forming a group code of conduct together. Finally, all the students constructed some really great individual goals to work towards during their days back at school.
Thursday was a big day in the Dandenong Ranges. It was hot and sunny but everyone persevered well through their challenges. In the morning we did the 1000 steps hike where the students got a taste of what it'll be like hiking at the You Yangs Regional Park, as well as each taking on a leadership role and supporting each other. In the afternoon we headed over to Trees Adventure which was hugely enjoyed by all. It was hard to tell if there were any nerves because everybody just went for it!
Friday was a bit of a mix of activities back at Collingwood Alternative School, where Newstart is based. The students met Sarah, a uni student who will be helping us out on a few camps. We did a few reflective activities, where everyone was able to reflect on various parts of their lives and share some things about themselves with the group. We also introduced mindfulness meditation (Smiling Mind), which was engaged well with. The group had the chance to get out of the classroom and play a game of soccer as well. In the afternoon we packed for camp, where the students learnt all about the different gear they'll need at the You Yangs and packed their hiking packs.
It was really positive to see everyone enjoying themselves and getting on well this first week of the program, and we're really looking forward to the next 7 weeks!