The first Literacy and Heritage Camp for 2016 was held on Saturday, the 5th of March in Ballarat, Victoria.
21 children from Ballarat and surroundings areas, along with parents, volunteers and tutors enjoyed a fun and engaging day in the modern surrounds of Federation University’s UB Tech Building.
After arriving, our students went through some light literacy testing to gauge their improvement on previous camps and determine where they sit among their peers. Students then broke off into groups with our tutors and volunteers, providing a fast-tracked learning experience with one-on-one attention. As usual, students also had the opportunity to play the latest literacy based computer games.
Some of the tutors and volunteers at the Camp today have now been with the organisation for over 10 years. Among them was founding member of our Advisory Committee and Yorta Yorta elder, Anne Cooper, who came with her daughter and granddaughters.
Also in attendance was returning CEO and founder, Dr Anthony Cree. Anne and Anthony have been working together in Indigenous Education for over 23 years.
From the Bacchus Marsh and Darley Homework Club, Sue, Penny and Chanel organised a healthy selection of salad rolls and fruit platters for students. Sue’s culinary abilities will be well known to visitors of the Bacchus Marsh and Darley Homework club and we were very fortunate to have her services on the day.
After lunch, Janet Curtain led a class on dot painting techniques which students could use with the aid of animal stencils. A volunteer in her 10th year of service, Janet is also a local Indigenous artist of note and is responsible for several mural works at local primary schools. Attendees were able to get a sneak peak of her latest project.
The students produced some wonderful art work throughout the class, learning some authentic techniques and exploring Indigenous themes which are not commonly taught in their schools.
It was a beautiful autumn day in Ballarat and to make the most of the weather, the camp was rounded out by a visit to several local Indigenous gardens, led by Anne Cooper.
While literacy and numeracy remain at the fore of our organisation’s mission – we consider these cultural experiences to be vitally important. Combining a safe learning environment with fun and engaging activities helps to separate our camps from ‘just another day at school’.
We try to help our students discover the heritage and stories behind the sights in their area – which are often closer than they think. We hope this encourages a sense connectedness and pride as well as a willingness to pass on their discoveries.
An enormous thank you to the volunteers, tutors and students for contributing to a hugely successful day. Thanks also to our thousands of supporters whose contributions make such happy days possible.
Stay tuned for details on the date and location of the next Literacy and Heritage Camp.