Sunshine Coast Council’s 2019 Kids in Action program has been recognised for the role it played in building deeper connections between the Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations people and our region’s children, by winning the Queensland Reconciliation Award for partnership.
The Queensland Reconciliation Awards recognise initiatives undertaken by businesses, community organisations, educational institutions and government going above and beyond their core business to foster reconciliation and pave the way for a better future for our state.
Jinibara and Kabi Kabi/Gubbi Gubbi First Nations community members partnered with the Kids in Action program to deliver a program underpinned by ecological knowledge, language and cultural practice, connecting to country and celebrating nature’s icons.
Feedback from the judging panel highlighted that through the program, in a true act of reconciliation, partnerships were strengthened, respectful and reciprocal relationships embraced, and a commitment to ongoing opportunities for shared learning and understanding fostered.
Funded by council’s Environment Levy and sponsorship including Kawana Shoppingworld, Unitywater and Sea Life Trust, Kids in Action partners with many local community groups, and is offered to all Sunshine Coast primary and secondary schools.
The Kids in Action program has always partnered with First Nations people by including Indigenous perspectives in the program content, however in 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages encouraged the program to deepen connections with Sunshine Coast First Nations communities.
Through the year’s theme – Connecting to Country: Celebrating nature’s icons – schools were encouraged to choose a native species (plant or animal) significant to their school and through connecting with and learning from their local Traditional Custodians across Kabi Kabi and Jinibara Countries, develop a deep understanding of the ecological role and cultural significance of their species.
Under the guidance of local Traditional Custodians, students learnt about their iconic species, they learnt language and they began a journey towards becoming passionate custodians of Country.
Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the 2019 Kids in Action program received praise from the participating teachers and schools for the way it created a stronger connection to our First Nations community.
“This strong partnership will continue into the 2020 program – in a revised format this year due to COVID-19 – and beyond,” Cr Law said.
“In the feedback council received, teachers expressed an increased feeling of respect and appreciation for the importance of Indigenous people and their knowledges and pedagogies and were grateful for the new connections made.
“I’d also like to offer my congratulations to the Beulah Community Limited, from the Sunshine Coast, who won the community category for the First People’s Memorial Garden in the Buderim Forest Nature Refuge.”
Environment Portfolio Councillor Peter Cox congratulated the team for their strong partnership.
“Congratulations to all of the Kids in Action partners in creating a program which creates a stronger connection to country, engages our youth in becoming future custodians of our natural environment, and is consistent with council’s aspirational vision for the Sunshine Coast to be Australia’s most sustainable region – healthy, smart, creative.”
In total, 257 students, 24 schools, 145 teachers/adults, 19 First Nations mentors, seven youth leaders and 23 volunteers attended five events throughout the year.