Change of at­ti­tude after hol­i­day trip

Maroochy Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

A TEENAGER who ad­mits she lacked re­spect for her par­ents says her at­ti­tude was turned around by a school hol­i­day trip she will never for­get.

Par­re­arra’s Leilani Diaz said she tried to run away when she re­alised a Gold Coast “hol­i­day” was ac­tu­ally a nine-day mil­i­tary-style boot­camp in a re­mote hin­ter­land lo­ca­tion.

“The thought of meet­ing new peo­ple and hav­ing to lis­ten to them and do what they said scared me,” the 14-year-old said.

“It has got­ten a lot bet­ter through the days. It helps that ev­ery­one was in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion – we formed bonds re­ally quickly.”

Leilani said when she re­turned home, she would be fo­cused on be­ing more re­spect­ful to­wards her par­ents.

“I want to con­tinue to work on my re­spect,” she said. “Even though I have im­proved quite a lot I still want to keep work­ing on it. I hope that what I’ve learned will stay with me.

“I’m re­al­is­ing how much my par­ents do for me.”

The in­ten­sive boot­camp pro­gram was founded by Vet­eran Men­tors, a group of ex-ser­vice­men and women us­ing their com­bat ex­pe­ri­ence and mil­i­tary train­ing to help chil­dren gripped by tech­nol­ogy ad­dic­tion, bul­ly­ing and low self-es­teem.

Afghanistan vet­eran and Vet­eran Men­tors di­rec­tor Glenn Filt­ness said the team had a pas­sion for mo­ti­vat­ing young peo­ple like Leilani to bet­ter them­selves.

“We are de­ter­mined to help kids be­come ac­count­able for their be­hav­iour and de­ci­sions,” he said.

“After much dis­cus­sion we re­alised the best way for us to pass on the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence we had de­vel­oped in the mil­i­tary was to run a pro­gram that could sup­port a wide range of chil­dren.”

Mr Filt­ness said the pro­gram could also help young peo­ple who were anx­ious and con­cerned about where they were head­ing in the fu­ture.

“We set these young peo­ple chal­lenges that they must get through to­gether as a team, just like we do in the mil­i­tary en­vi­ron­ment,” he said.

The next pro­gram will be held De­cem­ber 15-23.


LIFE CHANG­ING: Vet­eran men­tor Troy Methorst with Sun­shine Coast teenager Leilani Diaz dur­ing a nine-day boot­camp in the Gold Coast hin­ter­land.

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