So much has happened since last year. My life has turned around and now I am heading down the right path for my life.Yes, there have been rough times when I have wanted to just give up, but then I thought about Operation Flinders and how you just couldn’t give up. You had to keep working hard to get to the place that you earned.I am getting better grades at school and I haven’t wagged once this year. I work now as well. I am earning my own money for the things I need and want which has made me more independent. My parents are happy with me; and my relationship with them has turned around and the things at home are extremely better than they used to be.Wow, it seems like only yesterday I was walking through dirt and bushes to just go home. Op Flinders showed me so much and I am a stronger person now, I feel I can do anything! I would love for my new school to have programs like Operation Flinders, because I would enjoy doing it again.
I did my first exercise in the Flinders Ranges in April 2005. I went out into the Flinders with a lot of anger problems, confidence issues and a bad attitude. As the week progressed I learnt to appreciate and understand what the people at Operation Flinders were trying to teach us and why what I was doing back home was wrong. I started co-operating with my team members and giving instead of taking like I usually do.At the end of the exercise I knew I had changed. My team leader recommended me to the Foundation as a future PGM [Peer Group Mentor]. I’m glad he did. When I returned back from the bush people were expecting me to fall back into my old ways, but I didn’t, I chose to remember some of the lessons I’d been taught out in the Flinders and implement them in my day to day life.I learnt to control my anger, a task that I thought was beyond me. Operation Flinders showed me to change my ways for the better and set me on a new path in life. It showed me a different side of myself that I didn’t know existed and helped me to realise some of my dreams and goals, such as becoming an Operation Flinders PGM.Shortly after coming home I began my training as a PGM, and although it took me over a year, the effort I put in was well worth it. Becoming a PGM meant a lot to me because it gave me the opportunity to put something back into a program that had given me so much. Since becoming a PGM I’ve been to 8 training weekends and attended 3 exercises. I love going out into the bush and being part of the program. It allows me to help kids who were a lot like how I was when I did my first exercise.The program really does help young people at risk. I believe in the program, it helped me become who I am today.
My first PGM training weekend was great. I learnt how to improve my map and compass reading skills. I met heaps of new people that shared the same experiences as me. My favourite part of the weekend was abseiling and rock climbing. I encourage anyone who is chosen to be a PGM to follow up with the training because you get to do lots of interesting stuff and meet lots of interesting people.
I was a bit nervous at first considering I was one of the two girls that went on the PGM training camp with thirteen other guys that I wouldn’t know from a bar of soap but as soon as I got to the bus I had people coming up to me shaking my hand and introducing themselves and saying hello like they’ve known me forever. The experiences and training that I have gotten out of the camp where unforgettable and the guest speakers where very inspirational to me as an individual but also to the rest of the group as well.We learned things like how to work as a team and leadership skills which I think where the two most important ones but we also learned skill such as how to read a map and compass, how to put up hutchies and how to hold the safety ropes for our teammates who where abseiling and rock climbing. We learned to trust each other even though we had only known each other for two days, It was an awesome experience and I’d recommend it to anyone who reckons they are up for a bit of a challenge.