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Last week, the Parramatta Eels hosted young students from across three high schools from around the Parramatta Area at their two-day Sydney Youth Summit at Western University, Parramatta Campus.

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.

Facilitated by Paul Sinclair, Managing director of Mirri Mirri, an Aboriginal-owned company devoted to helping Australians improve their understanding and awareness of our Indigenous cultures, the Youth Summit included workshops on leadership, goal-setting, mental health and more.

Sinclair said the two days will be beneficial for all involved.

“Over the next two days, we have some Indigenous kids from Western Sydney come in for a two day camp,” Sinclair said.

“The camp focuses on a number of different themes from cultural enhancement, teaching them a little bit more about their culture, history, and heritage and also some things around leadership, resilience and positive communication.”

Sinclair is familiar with delivering sessions that resonate with all the participants, no matter their levels of confidence or experience in this setting and facilitates fun activities that teaches important lessons.

“Obviously some kids are more confident that others, but we have a range of activities to bring them out of their shells,” Sinclair said.

“At the moment they are all developing a zoo, but they don’t realise that while they are doing that, I am watching them to look at their leadership skills. Some kids speak a bit more than others, some make decisions, some speak over the top of others so at the end of this, I can highlight their individual leadership skills and areas they can develop.”

“Hopefully it is something they can take away and have a think about.”

The Sydney Youth Summit follows on from the Northern Territory Youth Summit held in June, 2016 for 50 young people.

“The Parramatta Eels are proud of our connection to the Indigenous community and are dedicated to providing guidance and education to Indigenous Youth.” Michael Basan, Strategic Partnerships Manager – Parramatta Eels said.

“The Parramatta Eels Indigenous Youth Summit provides an opportunity for students to participate in activities that enhance their personal development and the prospect of succeeding in their community.”

“Both camps I found are really important, whether it is in Darwin or in Sydney. We bring kids in and give them an opportunity to learn about their culture, which is first and foremost, but at the same time, offer them other skillsets which will help them at school and later in their lives,” Sinclair said.

“It’s not that one camp is better than the other, they have both contributed equally to the kids.”

The participants also spent some time with students from the Western Sydney University, visiting the Parramatta campus and learning some valuable knowledge about their transitions from school to university.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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