Week 1 in Latrobe Valley

Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley kicked off last Monday 23rd April with an impressive 12 young people turning up ready to engage.

Day one commenced with the group being presented with two Fighting fish to keep as pets. They proved to be a good conversation starter as the group discussed potential names for their new pets and how they will keep them healthy. The first day concluded with a scavenger hunt around the vicinity of Church St in Morwell, which enabled the group to engage with local businesses! This activity was great for everyone to get to know each other and left everyone excited for what the next day would bring.

Day two brought a change of scenery with the crew heading over to a great local space at Moe Library. After a fun and interactive morning learning with our Development Coach's, we welcomed a dietician in to discuss healthy foods and shopping on a budget. This then prepared the group for a trip to the supermarket to buy supplies for a cooking class later in the week.

After a day off, the group arrived back at Latrobe Valley's HQ delighted to see photos of their first two days together hanging up around the space. The young people showed genuine appreciation for the efforts made to help them feel more at home and develop their sense of belonging within the group.

Next, we were given the opportunity to learn a little more about the hopes and dreams of our group through some story telling about their love of camping, boxing, bike riding, basketball to an incredible young lady’s desire to become a stable hand – her dream job.

We finished the off the day with a gym session where everyone explored the facilities and became more comfortable with the set up. The session allowed small steps to be made in the right direction for those with less experience, while others were able to smash out a big workout! For the majority it was a first time visit to a gym, with one young person never owning a pair of sneakers in her 19 years!

Friday was our last session for the week and we were joined by Ladder Mentoring Coordinator, Ben Mabon. Ben has previous experience in as a Development Coach, so it was a great opportunity for both the young people and Latrobe Valley staff to get his support in running some sessions.
It was evident that one young lad in particular become more engaged having Ben on hand, which empahsises the importance of having a diverse group of staff working with our young people!

We headed off to a Parky's Adventureland where we tackled the ropes course. Ben was great in inspiring and motivating the young people to take a leap of faith, showing them how to support each other with positive communication and providing support and praise for their efforts regardless of which stage they made it to. Many challenged themselves overcoming fears of height or balance, battled with their minds striving to push past their limits. A highlight was watching one young person combat her fears as she was the first one to the highest point for the zip wire.

A great week was had by all and the feeling amongst the group leading in to Week 2 is incredible. There are too many highlights to mention all but seeing the group bond through the Ice Breaker activities, building friendships within the group and showing enthusiam about the journey ahead were a few.

Fiona Doultree, our Latrobe Valley Regional Coordinator made special mention to our local Development Coaches, Tanarly and Virginia, remarking that they compliment each other perfectly and have been nothing but "inspiring and professional" while working with the young people. The program so far has been fun and engaging and all staff have been utilising there own strengths and those of the young people in the program to best deliver the program content.

Bring on Week 2!