Budja Budja creating cultural connections for our young Mob

Sep 6, 2022

Budja Budja Aboriginal Co-Op has partnered with VACCHO for the Gariwerd Youth Connections program as a part of a Healthy Communities initiative.

The pilot program aims to support Culture and Kinship by bringing youth together on Country, connecting them with other youth, creating peer networks and a sense of belonging to Community.

The Gariwerd Youth Connections program conducted a three-day camp for children aged 5-11 years old, and an overnight camp for children aged 12-17 years old.

Across the camps, 55 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children came together and took part in a range of activities such as Hip-Hop dancing, archery, boomerang throwing, art, song, storytelling, high ropes climbing, bush walking, and ceremony.

“It’s great to have Aboriginal people come together and learn with each other”

Program participant

The Gariwerd Youth Connections camp activities are designed to build confidence and self-esteem in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. The activities also help promote good behaviours, connection to Country, Culture and Kin, and encourage strong leadership skills.

“What I hope the kids receive from this program is that real sense of pride knowing exactly who they are, and know that we do come from the longest surviving culture, and that is something to be proud of.” ”

Program facilitator

The Healthy Communities initiatives focus on the importance of Culture and Connection in improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

VACCHO hopes to continue the Gariwerd Youth Connections program and establish similar programs at other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations around Victoria. For more information get in touch with our Healthy Communities team.

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher believes it is time to create a new day that is inclusive for everyone.

“It is time for us to press the reset button and create a new day – a new date – a day where we can all celebrate and feel included. January 26 is not that day – January 26 hurts.”

“Change needs to be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with our voices at the forefront, but we need allies around us, and we need a focus on educating all Australians about the true history of this country.”

“We also need a bold and brave government to make this change. Last year we saw the government listen to Aboriginal leaders and free the flag – we must keep the momentum going and do something about this date.”

“The time for change is well and truly overdue and needs to happen now.”


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Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email communications@vaccho.org.au or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.


VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 32 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.