Hume Term 3 2021

Since the start of lockdown 6.0, Operation Newstart has facilitated 11 online learning sessions over four weeks on scheduled program days (Wednesday-Friday). We met with the students via Google Meets and carried out one hour sessions.

We believe outdoor education, wilderness therapy and experiential learning is an important part of the learning experiences of all young people. Operation Newstart supports the delivery of quality curriculum and we provide emotional, mental and social development opportunities for students that they may not find available in the classroom. It is unfortunate we have not been able to deliver the full potential of the program, but like everyone else, we were required to adapt to the times. We created online learning sessions which addressed weekly themes from our face to face learning program. Below are brief descriptions of what we covered in the sessions.

Sessions 1 - 4

In the first few online lessons, we revisited themes such as our group and personal values and what they mean for us, fixed vs growth mindsets, high resilient responses and recognition of our character strengths. We utilised Jamboard, an interactive digital white board to have students contribute to. We applied the reflection of the hikes we did at Mount Donna Buang and the Kokoda Trail to draw upon our character strengths and how we have the ability to change from fixed to growth mindsets. Students were able to identify their personal character strengths and give examples of when they used them. Having real life experiences as a group to extract from, helped build stronger context to these themes. At the end of some of these sessions, we also played games such as Kahoot, Scibbl.io, and Gartic Phone (pictionary style game). Beyond the first online sessions, the students were given two tasks to complete to contribute towards their workbooks (formal letter and hike reflection). The completion of their workbooks is one of the requirements to graduate from the program.

Session 5

On this day we covered Respectful Relationships where we discussed the importance of values within effective relationships and the meaning of consent. The aim is to promote a deeper understanding of positive relationships and consensual agreements with intimate partners. With the interactive values wall on Jamboard, the students chose from a variety of prescribed words to place into the wall, the foundation being their most important values to them. The students were able to explain why they thought their chosen values were important and they were encouraged to use examples. We had an effective group discussion around building safe and positive relationships and comprehending the significance of consent. We believe that respectful relationships contribute to growth, maturity and self-confidence. It also promotes healthy self-expression, self-awareness and awareness of others.

Sessions 6 & 11

Operation Newstart has a partnership with YSAS and for these sessions we had Bede, a youth support worker, run an Alcohol and Drug workshop. We discussed topics such as categories of illicit substances, how drugs process in our bodies, the effects of certain drugs and we also covered information around vaping. The aim of this workshop is for the young people to have a better understanding of AOD to then make healthier and safer choices and have the knowledge to identify risky situations. The young people were able to identify categories of common substances and beyond deepen their understanding of the risks of vaping - one of the most common partakes in our youth. In session 11 we continued the AOD workshop and we decided to incorporate the First Aid segment from our workbooks. We created a hypothetical scenario where a person was unconscious at a party and the students were able to draw upon the CPR and first aid discussion from session 10. Students were able to identify effective ways to deal with the situation.

Sessions 7 - 9

This week we had external guest speakers join our online sessions. Megan, Teresa and Cass from headspace Craigieburn facilitated a mental health workshop on Wednesday. They explained who they are, their roles and what headspace can offer for young people. Aim: understand what mental health is, ways to manage well-being, and recognise when we or someone else may need help. We believe it is paramount to discuss such topics and break down the stigma surrounding mental health. Students were able to gain insight into what support is available to them, understand what mental health is and give them the tools to seek support if ever needed. Students engaged well with the workshop.


On Thursday we had Michael from Kangan Institute present to the young people and outline great future pathways and links to TAFE. Beyond detailing the bountiful courses that are on offer, Michael talked about VCAL, VET, apprenticeships and traineeships opportunities. The aim of this session is to promote further education that holds industry responsive practical experience and skill development which is commonly desired by groups attending ONN. The young people had the opportunity to ask Michael many questions and they left having a greater understanding of TAFE qualifications and how they provide a great pathway into the workforce and can greatly improve employment prospects due to their focus on practical, industry-based skills.


On Friday we had Cruz, the Team Leader for Hume’s Youth Services join us and introduce himself and the services provided. Hume Youth Services offer a range of programs, initiatives and events that support social connection, leadership, learning new skills and participation in the local community. Cruz encouraged the students to share their ideas on what other activities they would like to see offered. During face to face learning on the Hume program, we utilise the Roxburgh Park Youth Centre including hosting our graduation. The students will have the opportunity to build a connection to the space and help promote longer term engagement.

Session 10

During face to face learning, the young people would have received external training to obtain a first aid CPR training certificate, however today we were only able to generate conversation around the topic. The aim of this session was to assist students in understanding the basics of first aid and introduce them to DRSABCD - an acronym commonly used by first aid training providers. We covered questions that were taken from the students’ workbook and the young people contributed to the Jamboard collectively to answer. The outcome: having basic knowledge means that the young person can be more confident in their skills in relation to first aid and can reflect on how themselves and others react in certain situations.

Brendon and I would like to thank everyone involved in this program for your all support and encouragement during these tough times.

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