Five questions with Nathan, our Wilderness Program Worker
Meet Nathan "Furph" Furphy! Nathan has been working with our Wilderness Program for eight years. The program is an outdoor adventure camp that helps young people who have experienced trauma to build resilience, confidence and teamwork.
What is a typical day at work for you?
- rafting down rivers
- exploring remote alpine regions
- squeezing through underground passages in cave systems
- surfing at pristine beaches
What do you enjoy most about your job? What are the greatest rewards?
Sharing these experiences with young people always puts a smile on my face. The greatest reward is seeing the look on a young person’s face when they touch snow or catch a wave for the first time; the profound looks and comments of pure joy ground me every time. These are the “magic moments’’.
How does the Wilderness Program benefit young people?
The experience and immersion in nature has positive effects on the body and mind. Each activity is carefully designed and follows a trauma-informed model. This means that each participant is involved in the planning and becomes part of the journey.
The young people can transfer the skills they’ve learned into their everyday lives, helping prepare them for future challenges. The most important part is that they can “just be themselves” - no judgement, no distractions and a safe place to talk, laugh and experience.
Do you have a message for our supporters?
My first journey was a 6-day coastal walk with local young people. On the first day, we walked through the bush and emerged at dusk on a sand dune above the beach. One young person was standing at the top with tears running down her face. We looked out at the ocean together; after about 10 minutes she said this was her first time to the beach. A teenager who lived 40 minutes from the coast had never experienced the water.
Sometimes we forget the importance of little things, like a trip to the beach or a nature walk.
For young people who have already been impacted by trauma, this is not just an experience - it is an experience that they deserve. I continually wonder how many more young people are missing out on these basic experiences. Your support helps make these experiences a reality and is greatly appreciated.