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Six students from the Northern Beaches recently returned from Brewarrina, in outback NSW, highly motivated and culturally enriched following a week out of their comfort zones.
Noah Sawyer, Eliza Lo Russo, Luke Vajdic, Davis Koorey, Aleta Wassell and Bianca Aiello were selected to represent the Northern Beaches following an application process open to all local young people.
Life on the beach was replaced by activities such as a visit to the world famous opal mines at Lightning Ridge and a day out at the local Brewarrina fish traps, which are ravaged by severe drought conditions.
Council asked a handful of the young guests what they thought of their time in the outback.
Eliza relished her time in Brewarrina, almost 800km out of Sydney - “In one’s life, there are a handful of personal experiences that shape, change and cultivate an individual's perspective and values. The trip was educational and eye opening and through the experience I have learnt so much not just about the community and its history, but about the generosity and kindness of its people. It truly was a trip of a lifetime.”
Noah – “Overall it was an amazing experience that I got so much out of, I would definitely recommend it to anyone eligible to, it was just so good.”
Luka - “It was such a great experience. I found it really hard coming back to Sydney from Brewarrina, as it put my life into perspective and gave me an insight into what actually matters, stuff like being kind, friendships, having a purpose and helping others. It makes me want to go back and give people in the outback a hand, and it couldn't have happened without the program.”
Davis – “I found it absolutely incredible, and I really loved meeting the locals. The surroundings were very different to back home, it made me realise how lucky we are.”
The relationship between Council and Brewarrina stretches back to June 2000 when a Sister Cities partnership was formed. As part of the Youth Exchange Program, earlier this year four lucky teens from the bush called the Northern Beaches home – staying at Royal Far West in Manly, where among other activities, they learnt to surf and snorkel.
Each year and looking long term, Council intends to forge lasting friendships between the vastly different communities.