Kokoda kids kick off journey

A group of Laidley High School students began their journey with Kokoda Youth Foundation's 'On The Right Track' program on Tuesday 16 April. Pictures: JACOB HAYDEN

Laidley and Rosewood students began their journey of self-improvement with Kokoda Youth Foundation last week.

A small group of students from each school spent a day at the Hidden Vale Adventure Park in Grandchester where they took their first hike in preparation for the Kokoda Challenge.

Through KYF’s ‘On The Right Track’ program, students will spend the next three months honing their hiking and navigation skills, followed by three months of community service.

Laidley State High School year 9 students Nyleigh and Chev said they were nervous about the first day of the program, but were excited for the future.

The group of Laidley students tested their map-reading at Hidden Vale on Tuesday 16 April, under the guidance of KYF leaders.

“It was about four and a half kilometres, and I think we took a wrong turn,” Nyleigh said.

“It was good to work together to find our way back.”

“There was a lake on the map, which was a good landmark to go off of,” Chev said.

“That way we could find our way back from when we got lost.”

The students are working towards the 48km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge in July.

“That’s what we’re training towards, I reckon it’s going to be quite a struggle, especially with the big group,” Chev said.

Rosewood group leader Jessie Smart said day one of the program was about getting to know each other and getting the students out in the bush.

She said the goal of the program was to grow confidence, self-esteem and self-worth in the students.

“Today, a lot of kids don’t really think they’re worthy of a lot of things and capable,” Ms Smart said.

“I think being there to support them and grow them in that area is going to be really important in their life.

“The school put forward kids that are disengaging, so that may mean from social, from behavioural, anything in their home life that could be impacting them.”

On The Right Track promotes digital independence, prompting young people to form real connections with themselves and nature without technology.

“It’s good to talk to people instead of socialising on social media,” Nyleigh said.

“It was pretty easy actually, you’d be surprised because the time goes by really quick.”

“I reckon I was so distracted I didn’t think about my phone, I was so focussed on the track and the hike,” Chev said.