Hello everyone and welcome to week one of the term 1 2020 Yarra Newstart program! As always we have a lot of fun and engaging activities planned and have rustled up a great bunch of young people to do them.
We started the week with our first pick up at Collingwood Train station. Everyone was on time and came with everything they needed which was a fantastic start! We all said our hellos and then drove to Colingwood Alternative school to start some getting to know you activities. With credit to the young people, they all engaged and settled into the games with ease. We did some grouping games, team challenge games and some shared experience games. After finding common connections and feeling like we knew each other we then drove straight to Richmond gym to participate in our first gym session. We met with Andrew our personal trainer for the term and got stuck into it. We did some cardio, arm machines, legs and ab workouts and finished off with some stretching. With help from Andrew everyone gave 100% and stayed motivated for the whole session. To finished our morning we had lunch in the park and then drove back to CAS to set our group code of conduct. The group code of conduct are the values that the young people pick and select themselves and sign their name too as a promise to abide by them. This term our code of conduct values are commitment, respect, teamwork, honesty, trust, kindness/being non-judgemental.
Thursday was our first big day on the program as we hiked the 1000 steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk and concord the Trees Adventure course. We were also lucky enough to have Malorie from YSS to join us and add conversation and a friendly face to the day. Malorie will be joining us for a few days here and there throughout the program. We picked up everyone from Collingwood station and set off straight for the steps. This hike is located in the beautiful Dandenongs and sees the students walk a 5km hike up steep steps. We pick this activity as it works both the body and the mind. The students are physically challenged by the steps and mentally by the endurance needed to complete the steps and work together as a team. On the walk we also reflect on how the Australian soldiers would have felt during World War II. On this day it was particularly humid which brought an extra challenge and connection to how the soldiers would have felt. Everyone worked together as a team and we hiked up and down the steps in record time. After this we jumped into the bus and drove straight to Trees Adventure. Once there we met with Jara from Trees Adventure, got into our gear, went over safety instructions and got up in the trees! Like everything on the program we run by challenge by choice and it was great to see everyone push themselves and complete a minimum of two courses at varying heights. Each young person had a go at overcoming some tough courses and flying down some flying foxes. The crew supported each other well and we all finished the day with smiles on our face.
Friday was an exciting day as we were heading to Headspace to do a workshop and then to Melbourne polytechnic in Fairfeild to do a landscaping TAFE tester. We picked up the crew from Collingwood and drove straight to Collingwood headspace. Once there we met with Emily and got stuck into the workshop. During Newstart we like to take the students to headsapce so they can feel connected to their local community and so they know they can access the services that they offer. With Emily running the show we did activities and had in depth discussions around mindfulness, stress and coping mechanisms for when things get tough. It was great to see everyone engage with the content well and I'm sure we all walked away with some new self care tricks up our sleeves. After this we went to CAS for a quick run through on what we need for camp then drove straight to the TAFE. Once there we met with Tim, a long term friend of the program, and got stuck straight into it. During the tester the students learnt the skill on how to lay bricks and got to see what an adult learning centre is like. With great credit to the young people they did well to make it through this workshop. The heat and humidity were close to unbearable and although we were hot, everyone listed to Tim and gave 100% to complete the task. We saw some of the best brickwork we have had and Tim was impressed with the level of standard. After the cool change rolled in and we had packed up the workshop, we said goodbye for the week and left feeling content with our weeks efforts.