KARI’s First Cultural Therapeutic Camp

The inaugural KARI Cultural Therapeutic Camp ran from 10th – 12th April 2017. This camp was made possible after KARI was awarded funding by the Matana Foundation.

The Foundation provides assistance to disadvantaged young people in Australia in order to give them the opportunity to reach their full educational and social potential. They do this by funding projects that address the causes and consequences of youth disadvantage.

The aim of this camp for KARI was to prevent KARI foster care placement breakdowns and strengthen the connection to Aboriginal culture and land for these young men while providing them with positive male role models.

“We wanted to create a safe space to encourage the young men to talk about issues such as mental illness, cultural identity, past trauma and addiction concerns,” said Shannon Thorne, Camp Coordinator.


A total of nine young men aged between 14 – 16 years attended the camp, which was run by three KARI staff members with the support of Jake Cassar – a passionate conservationist and bush craft teacher specialising in edible and medicinal native and introduced plants. His skills and knowledge were a valuable addition to the camp.


The group of young men spent their time on the camp learning about tracking, finding water, identifying edible and medicinal native plants, rope making, fire making, and engaging in cultural talks. A representative from Headspace spoke to the youth about men’s business and offered education around sexual health and to access resources in relation to different kinds of support.

Observing the comradery that the kids built amongst themselves was a real highlight of the camp. All the boys behaved so well and participated in all activities with enthusiasm. Constantly engaged, the group were listening & carried out any duties that were thrown their way.

Camps such as these are important as they provide a platform for cultural and individual development.

“These young men need to learn about how Aboriginal people lived and how this knowledge can help them in today’s society,” said Thorne.

There are a number of outcomes that we expect to see as a result of attending KARI’s Cultural Therapeutic Camp:

  • Learning how to respect themselves and others.
  • Decreased foster care placement break downs
  • Increased participants’ knowledge about Aboriginal culture and land
  • Increased number of Aboriginal young men in KARI’s care who seek help or advice
  • Decreased high-risk behaviours of KARI’s young Aboriginal men in care

Thanks to our community partners Coleman for donating the following items, which contributed to making the camp a possibility:

  • 5 x 30L Trek Lite Backpacks
  • 5 x 40L Trek Lite Backpacks
  • 1 x Mountain view dome shelter
  • 5 x Fyrelite Stoves
  • 5 x Single Person Mess Kit
  • 9 x 5 in 1 Survival Kits