Fishing trips help foster connection to country for girls in Kununurra
Every Wednesday, Kununurra PCYC hosts safeSISTAS, a group where girls come together and create strong relationships with their friends and female role models in the community.
SafeSISTAS is led by two local Indigenous Youth Workers, Quincy and Lanka and alternates each week between a youth hub session or a bush trip that involves activities such as fishing, swimming or kayaking.
For many people living in the East Kimberley, the benefits of fishing go beyond being able to take home some fresh fish for dinner. It offers a break from the pressures of everyday life and allows an escape to nature. It's also a culturally significant activity for Indigenous people as it enables them to connect to country. A key aim for safeSISTAS is to provide girls and young women with culturally appropriate ways to learn strategies to improve their mental health, bond with others, and embrace their identity. Being on country with Indigenous role models goes a long way in helping achieve this aim.
Fishing requires a lot of patience while waiting for a bite, so the young women get lots of time to relax and chat in a safe space about how they are feeling, what’s happening in their lives, and to connect with positive role models and each other in a restorative natural environment.
On alternate weeks, PCYC runs hub sessions where agencies such as Headspace, health organisations and guest speakers join the group to provide educational activities and opportunities for young people to access other welfare services.