18 year old Lillian Arnold-Rendell is in her final weeks of Year 12 and like many young adults in her position the question ‘what next?’ is on her mind. Recently Lillian participated in NASCA’s Career Fit camp at the NCIE. She reflects on the weeklong program that has given her direction and clarity to take her next steps.

Simply put, I’ve been on numerous camps. Work-shops, camps and open-days filled with information about being a leader, careers and also university advice that never really seemed relevant to me.

Naturally, having been on with the KGI program since 2011 and having opportunities such as meeting the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, volunteering at the Dream, Learn & Earn Careers Expo & the Indigenous Arts Festival, participating in the KGI Victorian Youth Parliament Team and also through KGI gaining networking capabilities that landed me as a Koori Webwise Peer Leader and as a National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy Alumni (deep breath) my expectations of NASCA were high.

Never in my wildest dreams could they ever provide me with a camp that could possibly benefit and influence me anywhere near as much as the KGI has throughout my affiliation with them.

Well *scoffs* I have NEVER been so wrong in my life.

Me, like some of the other participants of the camp are entering our final weeks of year 12 and naturally twiddling our thumbs in confusion having no motivation for the upcoming weeks, no absolute answer to what the future held for us, nor any idea how to access scholarships and aids available to us. Personally NASCA has changed that for me.

I feel like a new person. A young Aboriginal person with goals as big as their personality.

Now, because of sessions with the UTS, the Careers expo and the numerous other entertaining and colourful activities I now have a direct idea of what I’m going to be doing in the next few years of my young life. NASCA has successfully engaged all the participants during this week, both physically, mentally and spiritually.

Everyone was challenged and experienced something they never had before. Boys braiding and curling hair? Girls participating and debating on whether shoes belonged in the budget? The NCIE, KGI & NASCA together? Never in my wildest dreams would I have believed it could be accomplished and more so, ENJOYED BY ALL, but it appears to have been successfully achieved. What was most unique about this particular camp was the complete versatility within the program, the perfect scheduling that only comes from practice and preciseness, but most of all the new experiences provided to every participant, the engaging and flamboyant activities and the relief it has provided me giving the direction and support I will need in the upcoming final weeks of my VCE.

I am proud & pleased as punch to say I had the pleasure to participate in this camp.

Laying zonked and bone-dead tired on the train home it is hard to accurately describe exactly how influential, enjoyable and LIFE-CHANGING this program has been.

I loved every single aspect of it- the budgeting, the surfing, the location, the NCIE staff, the beauty school, the William Angliss cooking, the UTS, the careers expo (featuring the BBQ, UNSU, the army, Wespac, etc), Bondi beach (talk about a long walk), the ferry ride.. The list is endless.

Also, shout out to the NCIE for the literacy test that I was panicking about, thinking I was very average at literacy. I believe that what services and support you provide people through your program is absolutely beautiful. A lot of our mob struggle so much through school, where teachers either think we’re too stupid to learn or do not have the capacity to do so to their standards and what you are doing is admirable and will breach the gap between our learning and their ignorance.

I feel like a changed young woman.

I sincerely hope that all of the KGI participants get the pleasure and privilege that I had being able to be invited on this program. I’m literally in my final week of year 12 (except for final exams) and had no idea where or what I was doing. Now, because of NASCA I’m completing my early entry application for the UTS, hopefully to be accepted in a Bachelor of Arts (communication & international studies) and I would not have had the strength to do so without the support and guidance of NASCA, NCIE and or course, KGI.

Thank-you so much to all who had anything to do with my week in Sydney- it’s one of the deadliest weeks I’ve ever had and it’s because of you people that I have the direction and clarity I need for the upcoming years.