Students from the inland Pilbara town of Tom Price recently had the opportunity to experience something completely different, travelling to the Ningaloo Coast for an educational, cultural, and adventure camp.
The students, who are all part of the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s Follow the Dream program (known locally as Garnjurri Mirnumurri Ngurr-unga) set out on the week-long camp to explore Carnarvon, Exmouth, and the Cape Range National Park.
Tom Price Follow The Dream Program Coordinator Joe Manning said one of the highlights of the camp was the excursion to the Rio Tinto Dampier Salt operations at Lake MacLeod, which gave students exposure to a wide array of future training and employment opportunities. For this part of the camp, the Tom Price group was joined by students from the Carnarvon Follow the Dream program to jointly take part in a tour of the operations.
During the Dampier Salt tour, students learnt about the various stages of the salt production process, visited the Salt Quality Lab, explored the Salt Field and Wash Plant, and walked along the Jetty to see where the salt is loaded on to ships. A number of students are now interested in working in the salt industry once they finish school.
Clinton Cooke, a Year 8 student in the Tom Price Follow the Dream Program, said he found the excursion at Lake MacLeod really engaging: “It was interesting to learn about how the salt was made and to walk along the jetty. It was a fantastic experience.”
While visiting Carnarvon, the Tom Price students had the opportunity to spend time with students from the Carnarvon Follow The Dream program who hosted an afternoon cook-up and served some delicious kangaroo tail, stews and damper. For some students, the visit to Carnarvon was a particularly poignant moment as they met cousins and other family members they didn’t even know they had. Mimi Fong, Carnarvon Program Coordinator, says it is really valuable for Follow The Dream students around Australia to meet other ambitious, motivated students who are working hard to reach their goals.
While in Carnarvon, the Tom Price students also visited the Space & Technology Museum where they learnt about the little known role the town played in NASA’s manned space mission to the moon, experienced a re-creation of the moon landing, and took part in a range of interactive STEM activities.
Towards the end of the week-long camp, the students travelled up to Coral Bay and Exmouth where they went snorkelling, coral viewing, kayaking, and ocean swimming. For some students, this was the first time they had the opportunity to learn how to snorkel and the first time they had visited these iconic coastal locations.
Joe Manning, Tom Price Program Coordinator, commented: “The Follow The Dream program encourages students to take part in these camps so they can experience a range of exciting educational and cultural opportunities, visit places they’ve never been to before, and learn about a whole range of post-school pathways. The students had a fantastic time, with many conquering their fears along the way. It is thanks to the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, Department of Education and Rio Tinto that we are able to provide such valuable excursions for students.”