CASPA’S Aboriginal Services and Support team took seven of our young people on the trip of a lifetime to the Laura Quinkan Dance Festival.
Held every two years, the festival is a unique gathering of dance troupes from across Cape York and the Torres Strait coming together sharing history and stories through dance and cultural performances – passing on knowledge and history.
Flying into Cairns the group then took the 3.5 hour drive out to Laura, which turned into 5 hours. Despite the unexpected extension to the journey the positives of the trip far outweighed the negatives along the way.
Aboriginal Services team manager, Terri Bird said it was amazing to spend that amount of time with the kids and learn so much about them. “It was an absolute pleasure to get to know the kids and young people more closely”, Terri said.
Watching the kids embrace the experience and learn from the journey was incredibly rewarding. “The teenagers, who went from being typical teens and not wanting to be seen with the rest of the group were suddenly opening up and seeking us out to sit with us and share their experiences throughout the trip”, Terri recalls.
Across the three-day dance competition, dance troupes were narrating their stories as they performed, explaining what these song lines and dances mean to them. CASPA’S older kids that were part of the group were enthralled by the performances and even got up and joined in when there was a call for audience participation.
“It was great to see some of our young people dancing and doing corrobboree lingo and song – you couldn’t miss anything that was going on there and it was great to see the kids take it all in”, said Terri.
As one of our objectives as an organisation is to provide opportunities for our children and young people to connect with their community, the dance festival delivered on this and more. Throughout the five day journey our kids and young people were so respectful to our team and everybody else they met along the way; it was an incredible experience for them providing valuable opportunities for personal growth, cultural immersion and unforgettable memories.
For Terri and her team it was also a very significant experience. The impact of so many cultural nations from right across Queensland coming together at this sacred place was something particularly special.
“You could feel the strong spirituality everywhere you went. It was fantastic - what all of us learnt, saw and shared there can’t be taken away”.
This trip could not have been realised without the generosity of our donors and we offer them our heartfelt thanks.