A group of Indigenous students from Parkes, Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo recently took part in the final stage of a six-month leadership program hosted by the Central West Police District.
The Active Citizens Program commenced on Thursday, July 4 and involved Indigenous Year 10 students from the three towns.
Throughout the six months, participants were involved in various cultural activities aimed at developing their leadership skills and discovering career opportunities.
Between Wednesday 20 and Friday 22 November, the students were joined by police from the Central West Police District as they attended a leadership camp at Jindabyne and Canberra for the final stage of the program.
The group joined with fellow participants from the Tweed/Byron Police District, as well as PCYC NSW CEO Dominic Teakle, and travelled to Jindabyne to hike to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.
Central West Police District Crime Prevention Officer, Senior Constable Daniel Greef, said all participants made it to the summit despite challenging conditions.
"We do this trip so the young people can realise they can push themselves physically and mentally further than they think they can," he said.
"The future young leaders were justifiably proud of themselves and their effort to get to the top of Australia."
The group went on to tour the Royal Military Academy, Duntroon, in Canberra before being treated to a presentation by an Aboriginal soldier on the military history featuring Aboriginal soldiers who have served the country.
The camp concluded with a visit to the Australian War Memorial where students took part in an Indigenous-specific tour, as well as laying a wreath during a Last Post Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Senior Constable Greef, said it has been a pleasure working with the future young leaders and seeing their development.
"I'm really proud of all the young people and how they took on the challenge of climbing to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko," he said.
"They all made it even though some of them wanted to quit, and on the walk back down they were in disbelief of themselves that they were able to make it."
Chief Inspector David Cooper said the most satisfying element of the program was seeing the young role models and leaders grow as people.
"They were shy teenagers when we started the program but are now confident and resilient young adults," Chief Inspector Cooper said.
"It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of this program."