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'Knowledge = Power' and 'Respect Yourself' Camps


This project created the opportunity for young people from Indigenous and African communities in Darwin to break down barriers between each other and the police, and build positive relationships. By participating in camps, these young people were able to improve their self esteem.

What were the aims of the project?

The aims of the camps were to encourage positive interaction between young people from Indigenous and African communities and to increase self-respect, self-esteem, self-motivation and develop personal safety skills.

The camps were also used to create trust and respect between participants and police.

What was involved?

The 'Respect Yourself' camp was designed for males and the 'Knowledge = Power' camp for females.

The project involved four three day camps, held at Northern Territory Police facilities in December 2007 and March 2008.

Camp activities included bushwalking, bike riding, canoeing, rock climbing, abseiling, archery and workshops on health, nutrition and substance abuse. The camps included 'Men's and Women's Business' forums where participants could discuss sensitive issues.

Police officers attended the camps to help break down barriers and develop trust with participants.

The project was funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's Diverse Australia Program (formerly Living in Harmony Program). In-kind support was provided by stakeholders including the Northern Territory Police.

Who participated?

Fifteen males and 19 females from Indigenous communities and nine males and six females from African communities attended the camps. Participants were aged 15 to 20.

What were the outcomes?

The groups learnt about the differences and similarities of each other's cultures and to respect one another. They formed new friendships and built positive relationships with police.

Participants learnt about how at-risk behaviours affect their self esteem, how they are viewed by others and various aspects of the law.

Some of the most positive outcomes from the camps have been the ways in which participants have made changes to their lives. Since the camps, some participants have been accepted into boarding school, gained employment and have been inspired to obtain qualifications in outdoor education. Participants have also remained in contact with police and camp staff.

The Rotary Club of Darwin South sees these camps as very important for these young people and would like to continue to organise camps if they secure funding.

Where can I get more information?

Further information on this project is available.

Ross Springolo
Past President, Rotary Club of Darwin South
PO Box 39162
Winnellie NT 0820
Telephone: 08 8946 7790


"We believe that through these camps some of the young participants came to realise that they could have a different future to the one they may originally thought lay in front of them."
Ross Springolo, Secretary, Rotary Club of Darwin South