The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have this week hosted 50 young people from around Darwin at their two-day Northern Territory Youth Summit at the Michael Long Centre at TIO Stadium.
The summit was funded through the NRL All Stars grant, introduced to support community-based programs focussing on Indigenous Australians right around the country, with all participants nominated by their schools as a reward for their attitude and efforts in their education.
Joined by Eels NRL squad Members Luke Kelly and Mitch Cornish, and NRL Ambassador George Rose, Paul Sinclair facilitated the program, including workshops on leadership and goal-setting, as well as mental health, through a presentation from Headspace, the national youth mental health foundation.
As Managing director of Mirri Mirri, an Aboriginal-owned company devoted to helping Australians improve their understanding and awareness of our Indigenous cultures, Sinclair is familiar with delivering sessions that resonate with teenagers.
“We work a lot with young indigenous people in particular,” Sinclair said.
“Our objective is to have fun, I’ll be honest. It’s about creating workshops that are interactive that are engaging but offer a subtle message at the end of it.”
“This type of summit [is] about making Indigenous Australia relevant for all Australians. That’s the power of it, and that’s the power of what these kids can take forward, is engaging all people in Aboriginal culture.”
Kelly, Rose and Cornish all spent time across the two-day summit working directly with the participants, to work as a group, set goals, or even write music based on connection to culture.
“You can’t underestimate it,” Sinclair said of having the NRL players join the group.
“A lot of these kids, they talk about their ambitions, whether that is to be a football player or a doctor or a nurse. But through Luke, Mitch and George they’re able to talk about the steps it takes to get there; how to set short, medium and long term goals.”
“That advice is very important to this program, and I know the kids will benefit a lot from hearing from those guys.”