ELEVEN Gawler & District College students were awarded for their determination to finish the Operation Flinders program last week.
The students shared their favourite experiences from the program and were presented with certificates at a special afternoon tea, in front of their families, last Wednesday, at local business LR&M Constructions in Roseworthy.
The Operation Flinders program provides a unique experience for people aged 14-18 to trek over 100 kilometres over eight days, completing a variety of activities and learning a variety of basic survival skills.
Gawler & District College year eight co-ordinator, and Operation Flinders support staff member, Kate Tetlow said the program is extremely worthwhile.
“I think it puts kids outside their comfort zone and challenges them to do things that they perhaps thought they never could do,” she said.
“When they achieve those things it shows them that when they set their mind to something, they can actually do it.
“I feel like the skills that they learn while at Operation Flinders, and the challenges that they overcome, are transferable to things they will face later in life.
“It also takes away the luxuries that we have in life and gets students back to basics, and makes them appreciate their family and friends more, and appreciate how lucky they are in their lives.”
After the presentation, LR&M Constructions managing director, Rob Chamberlain, surprised Operation Flinders representative staff by donating a new barbecue to the organisation.
Operation Flinders youth development manager Leif Christensen graciously accepted the gift, explaining the program couldn’t operate without the generosity of businesses and organisations.
“We accommodate, literally, hundreds of volunteers throughout the year, and feeding them and supporting them, so that they can support us, is a really important part of the program,” he said. “Getting something like this is a massive help in so many ways, because it is not always money that we need.
“The relationships that (Operation Flinders participants) forge throughout the eight days, by walking together and living together for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is incredible – it’s an experience that they can’t get anywhere else.”