A week long Men’s Camp for men from Napranum, Mapoon and Wujal Wujal took place at the remote Bouchat Beach (just outside of Weipa) in early August 2017.
The camp was hosted by the Napranum Mowki Men’s Group and was coordinated by Apunipima Cape York Health Council, and the Wujal Wujal Justice Group.
The camp allowed men from the Cape York region to gather together as men to explore, experience and exchange cultural knowledge, stories and skills.
Apunipima Men’s Support Service Worker Les Drahm said the event was all about men connecting together and broadening their horizon and personal experiences.
‘For some of these men, they have not been out of their own community, by travelling to another community it gives men the opportunity to experience something unique and to see things from a different perspective.’
The camp included Traditional Owners Ted Barkley, Vincent Barkley and Steven Hall who provided the cultural orientation and navigation on country.
Vincent Barkley, who is also an Apunipima employee, helped to facilitate the Camp.
He said it was an integral part of his culture to ensure that cultural protocols and process were followed, and having two of the elders Ted Barkley and Steven Hall on the camp helped to guide the visiting men on country.
The camp included traditional storytelling and camp fire yarning, fishing, hunting and visits to some significant sites around Weipa, Napranum and Mapoon.
During the camp, the men had time to talk about various issues that affect them as men, such as their roles as being a father, uncle and grandfather. Other discussions included domestic and family violence, youth disengagement, alcohol and drugs, being culturally strong role models, and health and wellbeing.
Wujal Wujal Justice Group Counsellor Joh Anthonis said the camp was extremely beneficial to the men who attended.
“Coming out on country and being with other men, in a safe and supportive environment makes a real difference to men’s lives.’
‘The whole experience was positive. We talked about a whole range of complex and difficult issues and several men expressed their interest to stay away from drinking grog and to attend more Men's Group activities. Last but not least, a lot of fish and mud crabs were caught!’
Apunipima embraces such unique experiences and supports initiatives around men’s health, recognising the benefit to men, their families and community.
Les and Nat said the Men’s Camp was good way to get men together and help them understand the importance of having these culturally appropriate activities.
‘This event is a testament to the organisations involved. Their exceptional support for the Men’s Camp is most appreciated, and such initiatives need to continue into the future.’