Courage. Endurance. Mateship. Sacrifice.
These are the values, forged by Aussie troops in Papua New Guinea during World War II, which now form the basis for the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program.
This 12 month program aims to draw on the Spirit of Kokoda to teach teenagers, coming from diverse and varied backgrounds and situations, the resilience, self-esteem, and life skills they need to become contributing members of their communities.
It’s hard to see how the program could be anything other than completely life-changing. Beginning with 20 weeks of building physical fitness and learning the value of team-work, the program then sees participants take on the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. This challenging trip is followed up with a further six months of community service, where teenagers volunteer for a variety of not-for-profit organisations, developing their sense of community and putting their own lives into perspective.
“The program helped me find myself, my strengths, weaknesses and how positive I can be in difficult situations” – Kahee Brufta Hotaii (2010 Kokoda Kid)
Independent studies show that the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program works wonders, but it comes at a price. To put one teenager through the program costs a minimum of $10,000. You can help raise this money by taking part in this awesome team bushwalking event.
On the 27th of October (that’s less than 7 weeks from now) at 7am, hundreds of people of all ages will set off from Ferntree Gully in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges National Park, to walk or run a tough but beautiful course that takes in the famous 1000 Steps and Kokoda Memorial Track, and even the summit of Mount Dandenong.
Participants can choose to take on either a 30km course with a nine-hour time limit, or a 15km course with a 5 hour time limit. Though many choose to treat the event as a race, this is enough time to take on the course at normal bushwalking pace, and enjoy the lush forest of the Dandenongs.
Money raised by the Melbourne event will go directly towards helping teenagers in Melbourne, so by getting involved you’re helping your local community. You can’t argue with that.
Registration & Event Info
- Teams of 2 – 4 can
register online at the Kokoda Challenge website(Registrations are obviously now closed). Hurry up though… Your time’s running out.
- Can’t take part? Why not donate a few bucks anyway?
- You can even take part in the event by donating your time to help out on the day.
- You’ll find anything else you need to know on the
Kokoda Challenge Event Details page(This website is no longer active).
This post was brought to you by Bushwalking Blog and the Kokoda Challenge Association.
Have you taken part in a previous Kokoda Challenge? Or are you already signed up for this year’s event? Let us know by commenting below.