Currently, just 517 Indigenous students are participating in Year 12 in Victoria but the new SOAR (Sport Occupations and Aspiration Raising) Camp program at La Trobe aims to address this. The SOAR Camp is a free four-day camp that introduces Indigenous Year 9, 10 and 11 students to university and possible career paths.
La Trobe Indigenous Student Recruitment Manager and program co-ordinator Vicky Peters, said it was important to introduce Indigenous students to careers they might never have considered, before they began VCE.
The four-day camp will run from 30 November to 3 December. Students will travel from Mildura, Bendigo, Shepparton, Wodonga, Broken Hill and Heywood to attend.
"This is about raising aspirations – we need to look at ways of engaging Indigenous students and one way of doing that is to bring them on campus to see what we have to offer," Vicky said.
"You can't be what you can't see. We need to introduce these options to students early on, to get them interested and open their eyes to the possibilities that are available to them."
Students will stay on-residence and participate in a number of fun activities including rock climbing and an amazing race. They will do a full day of journalism/communication activities including utilising La Trobe's news room, where they will create, film and present news, sport and weather stories. They will complete an engineering activity to create their own device that measures heartrate and temperature, and visit Scienceworks Museum.
There will also be a number of talks and learning sessions to inform them about career options. La Trobe is currently the number one University for sport courses and Professor Mark Rose, Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy, said the camp was an ideal opportunity to introduce young students to possible careers in sport.
"At La Trobe, we are committed to building healthy communities and we are also heavily invested in developing pathways for Indigenous students into University," Professor Rose said.
"Just this year we introduced Wominjeka La Trobe, which is an Indigenous cultural literacy module for all new students, and we've have really positive feedback on that.
"We hope the SOAR Camp will become another La Trobe initiative that helps bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in tertiary education."
Leah Humphrys, Media and Communications Officer
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