The excitement is building for four Indigenous secondary school students who will depart Townsville this week for the 2016 NRL All Stars Indigenous Youth Summit in Brisbane.
Year 11 students Kallum Delacour (Kirwan High School), Amy Hall (William Ross High School), Damon Johnson (Pimlico High School and Reanne O’Keefe (Shalom Christian College) will join over 50 other students from around Australia and New Zealand for the summit at The University of Queensland.
The four Townsville representatives are all participants in the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys' Learn, Earn, Legend! program, which provides mentoring and support to 95 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander year 11 and 12 students in local Townsville schools, with the support of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
While in Brisbane at the youth summit, the students will attend a series of workshops designed to enhance skills and knowledge in three key areas: cultural knowledge, success at school and success post-school.
Highlights of their week will include cultural sessions with both the Indigenous and NRL All Stars squads, participation in a 'job application' workshop, vying for the title of All Stars Youth Ambassador, and attending a session at UQ, where they will explore tertiary study options and meet current Indigenous university students.
Cowboys Learn Earn Legend! mentor Pamela Santo-Appleby will travel to the summit with the students, and says it's a great opportunity for them.
“The youth summit brings together students from all walks of life," she said.
"They'll have the chance to get to know their peers from other areas and to learn from our Indigenous All Stars players and coaches, as well as program mentors and guest speakers.
"All workshops are hands-on and interactive, which is a fun and engaging way to learn such important concepts, and they are skills which can continue to develop as the students enter the final stages of their schooling and tertiary education."
Reanne and Kallum recently visited Cowboys HQ to meet Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston and 2016 Indigenous All Stars hooker Ray Thompson.
“I’m really looking forward to the summit," Reanne said on her visit.
"I’m hoping to meet and make friends with some other teenagers who want to do well at school, and want to look after their families and make them proud.”
The youth summit, now in its fifth year, is part of the 2016 Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars week and will culminate with students attending the Harvey Norman Rugby League All Stars match on 13 February, where they'll take part in the on-ground activities at Suncorp Stadium.
Main image: Cowboys Learn Earn Legend Mentor Pamela Santo-Appleby, Kallum Delacour, Johnathan Thurston, and Reanne O’Keefe with Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Regional Manager (A/g), Danielle Regeling.