Camp founder wins na­tional gong

Albany Extra - - Extra News - Cally Dupe

Tanya Du­pagne’s face lights up when she de­scribes her love for Camp Kulin, a lead­er­ship pro­gram she started four years ago.

“It’s just one of so many amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in re­gional ar­eas,” she said.

The pro­gram was launched in 2013 to help chil­dren from re­gional ar­eas de­velop lead­er­ship skills and con­fi­dence.

It so far in­cludes a gen­eral camp open to any child aged eight-15 in WA, a school camp and a camp de­signed for chil­dren deal­ing with trauma.

But it was Ms Du­pagne’s plan to cre­ate two sim­i­lar pi­lot pro­grams tar­get­ing ru­ral women which won her a pres­ti­gious award last week.

Ms Du­pagne, 36, was named the na­tion’s AgriFu­tures ru­ral woman of the year at a cer­e­mony at Par­lia­ment House in Can­berra last Wed­nes­day.

The na­tional award came five months af­ter Ms Du­pagne won the cor­re­spond­ing State prize and won a $10,000 bur­sary to help es­tab­lish the new pro­gram.

Her plans have shifted gear af­ter she was awarded an­other $10,000 to kick­start the pi­lot pro­gram at the na­tional awards cer­e­mony.

Ms Du­pagne plans to launch Camp Kulin’s first two fe­male adult-only cour­ses in Fe­bru­ary.

Her vi­sion for the new pro­gram is for ru­ral women to “eas­ily ac­cess” per­sonal de­vel­op­ment train­ing with­out need­ing to travel to Perth or pay high fees.

Two groups of 24 women, one un­der 30 and one made up of all ages, will head to Camp Kulin in Fe­bru­ary.

The pi­lot pro­grams will be funded by the bur­sary.

If the pro­grams are deemed a suc­cess, fu­ture adult camps will be paid for by par­tic­i­pants and schol­ar­ships.

“We’ll run both as a three-day camp at dif­fer­ent times but we will link the groups through Face­book and men­tor­ing,” Ms Du­pagne said.

“It’s open to any women in re­gional WA. It is re­ally to make lead­er­ship train­ing af­ford­able and easy to ac­cess.

“We are tar­get­ing those lo­cal lead­ers in your com­mu­nity. It’s about pro­vid­ing those lead­ers with the op­por­tu­nity to de­velop.”

Work­shops and ses­sions have been tried and tested on cor­po­rate groups, with what Ms Du­pagne said was great suc­cess. “They will

A lot of our com­mu­ni­ties are strug­gling and need strong lead­ers, so who bet­ter to do that than the women?

Tanya Du­pagne

ac­tu­ally do a lot of the same ac­tiv­i­ties the kids do,” she said.

“A lot of our com­mu­ni­ties are strug­gling and need strong lead­ers, so who bet­ter to do that than the women?” Ms Du­pagne said she was tired of hear­ing of pro­grams which cost thou­sands and re­quired “25-page-long ap­pli­ca­tion forms”.

Reg­is­tra­tions for both pro­grams will open within the next few weeks.

Ms Du­pagne moved to Kulin, 300km south-east of Perth, in 2013 af­ter she was in­vited to see the com­mu­nity’s ex­ist­ing camp in­fra­struc­ture.

She had a clear vi­sion for the Camp Kulin pro­gram, tak­ing on a de­serted camp­ground and re­vi­tal­is­ing the premises to host more than 1500 chil­dren a year.

“I had to re­sort to Google Maps to find the lo­ca­tion of Kulin when a res­i­dent first called and in­vited me to visit in 2013,” Ms Du­pagne said.

“When I saw the in­cred­i­ble ac­com­mo­da­tion, pools, wa­ter­slide and grounds of Camp Kulin sit­ting empty in WA’s Wheat­belt, I promptly told friends, fam­ily and col­leagues I was mov­ing.”

With a com­bi­na­tion of re­search, grit and de­ter­mi­na­tion, Ms Du­pagne has also steered some of her pro­grams towards help­ing chil­dren re­cover from trauma.

Hun­dreds of vol­un­teers help to co-or­di­nate the pro­grams each year, in­clud­ing past par­tic­i­pants who have now come full-cir­cle.

South Aus­tralia’s Si­mone Kain was named the na­tional run­ner-up last week af­ter co-cre­at­ing chil­dren’s book char­ac­ter Ge­orge the Farmer.

Ms Kain will add her $5000 na­tional prize to her $10,000 State prize cre­ate two new ed­u­ca­tional re­sources.

The re­sources will fo­cus on Dr Ruby, Ge­orge the Farmer’s agron­o­mist wife, to pro­mote the role women play in Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture.

On­line ap­pli­ca­tions for next year’s AgriFu­tures Ru­ral Women’s Awards are now open.

Pic­ture: Sean Davey

Tanya Du­pagne at the awards cer­e­mony.

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