Community program cultivates local leadership skills

Local government youth initiative in the international spotlight

In the south-western corner of Western Australia approximately 283 km south east of Perth lies the town of Kulin, an agricultural hub in the eastern Wheatbelt region with a population of around 350. It’s a strong community that is intent on remaining so, with incredible backing from the Cultivating Kulin Committee Incorporated (CKC), a not-for-profit group made up entirely of volunteers who work hard to support initiatives that enhance the opportunities for members of their community.

One such activity that CKC has supported is Camp Kulin, an initiative of the Shire of Kulin that is quickly gaining national and international recognition for its innovative program.

Community supports local leadership development
Camp Kulin leadership program

Established in 2013, Camp Kulin involves year-round camp programs for children at risk, as well as a range of youth activities and leadership programs in Kulin and surrounding areas. As part of the program, volunteers are trained to work with children attending the camps. Initially, the majority of camp leaders came from the Perth metropolitan area.

CKC received an ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant, which is administered by FRRR, to train 24 young people (aged 16-25) from across the Wheatbelt to enable them to take on leadership positions with Camp Kulin. The $7,400 grant funded two five-day intensive training programs covering leadership, facilitation skills, teambuilding, public speaking and confidence building.

The Wheatbelt Leaders then put the skills they learnt into action as camp counsellors, working with children from the Wheatbelt, as well as at-risk children from across WA (including children affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and other childhood trauma).

Project benefits participants and the wider community

Taryn Scadding, President of the Cultivating Kulin Committee, said the effect on participants has been far-reaching, with camp counsellors describing it as ‘life changing’, ‘the best week of my life’ and ‘something we will remember forever’.

The project proved highly successful, with all participants completing full camps as camp counsellors, which has given them experience they needed to become actively involved in future community leadership opportunities.

“All members of the Camp Kulin leadership team are encouraged to take on as many opportunities as they can as a result of the skills they have gained, which many of these participants have done, so the skills they have learnt are not only benefitting the Camp Kulin program, but also programs running in their own towns,” Ms Scadding said.

“Since coming home after the Wheatbelt Leaders’ Program, participants have become more engaged in their own communities, sharing the skills they have learnt with others and joining other community groups and projects such as the Y20 Wheatbelt Leaders’ Summit,” she said.

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