Operation Flinders and the teen spirit

Our teenage years are some of the most formative years of our lives, yet for many, it's far from smooth sailing. Negotiating the complexities of growing up is challenging enough, but when compounded by societal expectations, environmental stressors, and challenges at home, the journey can appear daunting. That’s where the Operation Flinders Foundation can help.

Originally founded in 1991, Pamela Murray-White, the Operation Flinders Foundation has been supporting young people in South Australia for over three decades. The Foundation offers support to teens from varying backgrounds through outdoor adventure therapy, aiming to foster qualities like self-esteem, motivation, teamwork, leadership, and responsibility. These activities serve as a psychological “circuit breaker” to boost resilience and prepare them for life’s complexities.

The Foundation’s core program is an intensive 8-day camp situated at Yankaninna Station in the northern Flinders Ranges, located 650km north of Adelaide. During this experience, participants can cover up to 100km on foot and engage in diverse range activities such as abseiling, via ferrata, high ropes courses, Indigenous cultural experiences, and bushcraft. Participants come from across South Australia and are typically referred as part of a team from a school or agency, or through our Step Out program.

Expertly trained Team Leaders use a combination of outdoor skills and experience with clinically researched and reviewed teaching methods to expand the participant’s comfort zones and change their outlook on the world. The remote location and isolation from the outside world, and the pressures associated with that, allow for participants to adapt to their new surroundings and overcome the obstacles they are faced with.

The participants carry all their supplies with them on their journey and sleep under hootchies, cook on campfires and trek across a beautiful and expansive landscape. They overcome obstacles that become metaphors for obstacles in their own lives. At the end of it all, the participants are filled with a sense of accomplishment, one that is only achieved through hard work, strength of character and determination to succeed.

After completing the camp, participants can join the Next Step program, which offers further growth opportunities and support through activity days/weekends, short courses, and employment pathways. Operation Flinders also provides training programs, such as Certificate II in Outdoor Education, as well as opportunities to achieve the Duke of Edinburgh International Award.

Operation Flinders has been transforming young people’s lives since 1991 and in 2024, will see its 10,000th participant complete the program.


For more information:

operationflinders.org.au

 

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